BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Guns are frequently taken from cars - either locked or unlocked.
“If a bad guy wants in a car bad enough, he’s gonna get in it,” says Det. Sgt. Michael Mangina with the Irondale Police.
And police say if your gun is taken, don’t bother looking for it in a pawn shop.
“They’re recovered on a bad guy out on the street. We very rarely see them in a pawn shop for example,” says Mangina.
Sometimes guns are recovered that same month, and sometimes it could take years.
“We had a gun that was recovered two years after it was stolen and this guy was way surprised,” says Mangina.
Like many gun owners, he didn’t think he’d get his gun back. But he did two things that increased his chances: he filed a report and and recorded the serial number.
“That’s how we knew, two years later, that it belonged to this guy,” he said.
Many don’t think twice about it or even consider filing a police report when it’s stolen. But that serial number is the only thing that proves to police you’re the owner. Without it, police keep the gun and destroy it.
Mangina says Irondale recovers about half the guns that are stolen. They’ve had six stolen since January 1.
Many times, a crook will try to file down the serial number. But police say, thanks to new technology, federal agents have a way of bringing it back up and being able to read it.