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Police: Unlocked cars account for ‘nearly all’ break-ins

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WAKE FOREST — Police officials said they are pleading with citizens to keep their vehicles locked to prevent car break-ins after $25,000-worth of property has been taken from unlocked vehicles this year.

The Wake Forest Police Department said in a statement Monday that “nearly all the reported car break-ins” in the city involved unlocked vehicles. The $25,000-worth of property included nine guns and involved 65 separate reports of car break-ins, police said.

“Why on earth someone would leave their handgun or other firearm in an unlocked vehicle is beyond my comprehension,” Lt. Jeremy Morris of the Criminal Investigation Division said in the statement. “People need to understand that when they leave a firearm in an unlocked vehicle they are inviting a criminal to take it. If owners are not comfortable storing firearms inside their home, then they should invest in a safe or locking device.”

Police said that guns stolen from cars are often used to commit other crimes.

The police department says gun owners are responsible for storing their weapons in ways that make them inaccessible to children and thieves. Guns should be locked up out of sight, such as in a locked cabinet, safe, gun vault or storage case.

“Hiding a gun in a closet, drawer or unlocked vehicle is not safe storage,” the statement said. “Safe storage involves employing precautions and multiple safeguards that provide an additional barrier against unauthorized use.”

Police said they do not consider cable-style locks to be a high-security device and safer storage methods are still needed with cable locks are used.