Police Say Many Guns Recovered in Gang Shootings Are Stolen - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Police Say Many Guns Recovered in Gang Shootings Are Stolen

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YAKIMA, Wash-- Yakima has seen a string of shootings. Four over the weekend and the Queen Avenue shooting Monday night. Police tell KNDO the guns involved in these incidents are usually stolen.

"Almost always when we recover guns from gang members, who are responsible for almost all the shooting we've had lately, they turn out to be stolen," said Capt. Greg Copeland, Yakima Police Department.

The five recent shootings in Yakima all involved gang members. Copeland says there's a large market for stolen guns, for gang status, to trade for drugs or to sell for profit.

Dave Pittman is a certified hunter's safety instructor, he also works at local retailer "Big R."
According to Pittman people often buy a safe after it's too late.

"We actually have quite a few people that'll come in and say, my firearms were stolen what can we do to prevent that," said Pittman

Copeland said gang members steal guns for several reasons. Usually so it can't be traced back to them or because they already have a criminal record. 

YPD recovers many of the guns used to commit gang related crimes.

"Over half have been reported stolen, maybe closer to 3/4 to 90% turn out to be stolen," said Copeland.

Both handguns and rifles are stolen, but handguns tend to be the ones used to commit crimes. Often by Yakima's young gang population.

"Age is the big thing, right form the get go, you have to be 21 to own a handgun," said Pittman.

Both men suggest buying a safe not only for your guns, but also to keep other valuables protected. Around $600 dollars will get you a safe from "Big R," less than what it costs to replace stolen guns.