Stolen guns are an increasing problem in Southwest Florida

In just seconds crooks can clean out the valuables from your car. And for many, those valuables could include your gun.

Statistics show firearm owners may not be doing enough to protect themselves, but there is a device that can help.

It takes just one stolen gun to shatter lives forever.

On December 21, 2014, Tarpon Springs Police officer Charles Kondek, 24, responded to a call while on duty. It was the last thing he ever did. Kondek left behind five children.

The murder weapon was a gun stolen from 200 miles away in Jacksonville.

In Cape Coral, an officer shot a teen burglarizing a car who was armed with a stolen weapon in 2017.

Stolen guns in Florida are a deadly problem with thousands showing up on our streets, and those are just the ones police tracked down.

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In the state, the City of Fort Myers is in the top ten for cities where these stolen weapons end up.

For the first seven months of this year, more than 300 guns were stolen across Southwest Florida, the majority right out of vehicles.

“I used to just leave it in my glove box when I go in somewhere or in my center console here,” said Cody Weaver who admits had a bad habit of leaving his pistol in his truck.

Weaver said, “I grew up in a rural area and everybody keeps a gun in their vehicle and it is not something anybody worries about, ” but in July thieves stole his loaded handgun.

“Now some crazy could have my gun and do something terrible with it,” said Weaver, adding that his biggest fear since it got stolen, is that it could be used in a violent crime, “a car should never be thought of as a storage unit for your gun.”

But if you do have your gun in your vehicle, protect it. For around $100 there is a device that locks and attaches right to your car seat. Spend a little more to have the device bolted in. Doing a Google search will give you many options with different price points.

There are also many other ways to better protect your weapon:

  • Always lock your car
  • If you can, take your gun inside at night
  • Write down your gun make, model and serial number and keep it for your records
  • And if a thief does steal it, report it right away

Reporter:Corey Lazar
Writer:Derrick Shaw