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521 guns stolen in 2017 from unlocked cars, Jacksonville police say

To reduce that number, JSO using #9PMRoutine to remind people to lock car doors

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – So far this year, 521 guns have been stolen from unlocked cars, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office announced Sunday evening on Twitter.

When News4Jax asked how many of the weapons were recovered, the Sheriff's Office didn't have that information available, but said officers see stolen guns used later in crimes time and time again.

In an effort to prevent gun thefts, JSO reminded people about the #9PMRoutine. Every night before you go to bed, police said, make it a habit to take all valuables out of your car and then lock your car.

On Monday, News4Jax went to Green Acres Sporting Goods and found two people -- a customer and the store sales manager -- whose guns were stolen from their cars.

"I had a pistol in my console and I had a rifle under the seat," said Z. Farhat, sales manager at Green Acres Sporting Goods. "About a year and a half after, they found the pistol. They pulled some guy over. He had a warrant out and they found the gun with him."

Farhat did the right thing by locking his doors, but unfortunately, the thief went a step further and busted out his window. 

According to JSO, 60 percent of auto burglaries involve unlocked cars. The 521 guns stolen this year from unlocked cars -- that number increases when the number of weapons stolen from locked vehicles is included.

One way to help prevent your gun from being stolen out of your car is to lock it up in a safe.

"You can mount it directly into the vehicle. Anchor it down. It's big enough to hold one full-sized pistol or two smaller pistols," Farhat said. "They range from $30 up to $200."

Officer Melissa Bujeda, a spokeswoman for JSO, said there's no specific type of gun stolen or location. She said if thieves find an unlocked car, they'll take whatever they can -- no matter what part of town they're in. 

"I mean, 521 guns were stolen just in 2017 to date," Bujeda said. "I'm sure we're going to have more as the rest of the year goes on. It's astonishing to me every time I see that number come, and I cannot believe how many people have left their guns in sight."

Bujeda said the number of guns stolen from cars this year is about the same as previous years, but that's a problem because they want to see that number go down.

Remember, it only takes one second to lock your doors. But most important, Bujeda said, is to keep your guns inside your home -- not your car.