CRESTVIEW — The Crestview Police Department urges residents to help prevent vehicle burglaries by removing valuables, including guns, then locking their cars.
"It's a common sense kind of thing," Officer Corey Newcomb said.
On Christmas Day, officers, including Newcomb, arrested two juveniles operating a stolen vehicle and possessing two handguns they stole from two cars. Neither vehicle was locked, and the owner of the stolen car left its keys in the ignition.
Deputy Police Chief Rick Brown said residents and officers' lives can be placed in danger by irresponsible gun owners who don't take firearms out of their vehicles when parking, only to have their weapons easily stolen.
"It also ties up officers who must respond to these sorts of crimes of opportunity when more serious incidents might be happening elsewhere," Brown said.
Crestview Police Investigator Len Steinmeier said burglars and car thieves don't damage the vehicles in most vehicle break-ins.
"Most of the time they're just opening unlocked doors," he said. "They're not breaking windows.
"If someone has a weapon in their vehicle, they need to take it out, then lock the car."