by: Tenikka Smith Updated:
CHARLOTTE - Concealed weapons are now legal inside bars and restaurants that serve alcohol, in parks and on school campuses, if they are locked in cars.
Some drivers may be making themselves a target for thieves to break in and go after their guns.
Just a few weeks ago, police in the University Division arrested a group of suspects officers say broke into cars specifically looking for firearms. They looked for various gun-related decals and bumper stickers to pick their targets.
Larry Hyatt, owner of Hyatt Guns said, "They're really advertising to criminal they may have a gun in their car so it may not be the best place to make those statements on the bumper of your car."
Hyatt said thieves have even lurked in his parking lot.
"We've had criminals try to break in cars. They know people coming to gun shop have guns and we have a camera and we've caught people breaking in cars." Hyatt said. "Fortunately, they're in prison they didn't get guns."
Decals aren't the only thing criminals are looking for, police said they are also going after vehicles parked at places where concealed weapons are not allowed inside like businesses or schools, places where there's a high likelihood gun owners have left their firearms in their car.
Police said gun owners should consider leaving their guns at home if they plan to visit a place that doesn't allow firearms in the building.
Another option is a gun safe that can be locked and attached to your car.
Mark Brewer said he knows guns are big targets for thieves so he takes another route to make sure his weapons aren't stolen.
"If my guns aren't welcome there, I don't want to do business with them," Brewer said.
A gun getting into the wrong hands is a big concern for police. If you know of a convicted felon that has an illegal weapon, call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600 to report it to CMPD's Firearm by Felon program. You could get a $500 reward if an arrest is made from your tip. For more information, click here.