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11 Investigates: Good Guns Gone Bad

Law enforcement experts warn that stolen guns fuel wave of gun violence on the streets. Toledo records one stolen gun per day.

Lou Hebert

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Every day in Toledo, a gun is stolen.

From a home, vehicle or business.

It's an alarming trend that is rising and has law enforcement officials concerned, because far too often, as statistics show, these stolen guns end up being used in crimes from robberies to assaults to murders.

Toledo Police records and reports from the news organization The Trace, which tracks gun issues and crimes, shows that Toledo saw a yearly average of 372 gun thefts from 2010 to 2015, representing a 53% increase during that period. And since 2015, gun theft reports continue to rise. That's not just in Toledo but across the nation and throughout Ohio.

The latest data from the National Crime Information Center show gun thefts in Ohio in 2016 approaching 10,000 per year. That's about 70-80 thefts per 100,000 residents. And the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms says Ohio is in the top 10 of states with the most number of gun thefts in the nation - in both thefts from gun stores and private owners.

Nationwide, the number of stolen guns reported is now in excess of 300,000 yearly, and that doesn't account for the number of guns stolen that are not reported to police.

What makes these numbers unsettling for some law enforcement officers we talked to is that they see this trend as an epidemic of "hot" guns on the street. And to underscore the potential danger, the FBI and ATF believe that most of the stolen guns will find their way into the criminal underworld or into the hands of people who shouldn't have them, such as teens, gang members, drug dealers, convicted felons, or those deemed mentally unfit to have one.