Many Americans buy guns to protect their families and homes from criminals, but Redlands police Monday were urging people to remember that the weapons themselves can put a residence on a burglar's radar.
Over the weekend, a thief broke into a home on Walnut Avenue and stole a number of weapons, including an AR-15 assault rifle. Redlands police are still looking for a suspect.
The Department of Justice says more than 232,000 guns are stolen on average every year in the United States. Most are never recovered, and many end up being used in crimes.
The Walnut Avenue incident is not the first Redlands weapon theft of late. Investigators in the city said they arrested someone a few months ago on suspicion of stealing weapons. The man said he targeted homes with American flags planted out front.
"He was doing that in the belief that those homes were more likely to have guns in them," Carl Barker, Redlands Police spokesman, said.
Particularly as July Fourth approaches, Redlands police are by no means suggesting that residents stop flying their flags, Barker said.
But they should realize that guns can be as attractive as cash and jewelry to potential burglars, police said. Barker suggested keeping weapons locked in a safe, just in case.