• More than 80K guns stolen in Florida in recent years

    By: Myrt Price


    LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - Guns in Florida are being stolen at an alarming rate.

    Over the past few years, more than 80,000 have been taken from rightful owners and wound up on the streets.

    9 Investigates obtained reports that show guns stolen in Central Florida have been recovered all over the state.

    Gun owner Jayme Modisette said back in 1998 his life changed forever. That's when thieves broke into his Lake County home and stole four of his firearms, including a 9 mm handgun.

    Weeks after the break-in, Modisette received a deeply disturbing call.

    Read: Ocoee police say carelessness is enabling thieves to steal guns

    "About two weeks later, one of the guns was used in a homicide/suicide down in Orlando," he said.

    Investigators were able to use the gun's serial number to track it down.

    About a year and a half later, Modisette got his gun back. But he feels uneasy about what happened.

    "I have no intention of using it," he said. "The gun is basically useless now."

    Another one of Modisette's stolen guns was located.

    "Four and a half years ago, I got a phone call that they found another one of my firearms," he said.

    It was taken to a pawn shop, and in order to get it back, Modisette has to buy it again, which is something he's not willing to do.

    Modisette isn't alone. According to Center for American Progress, from 2012 to 2015, 80,179 guns were stolen in Florida.

    "It's a very big problem, and it happens often, and we see it all the time," Lake County Lt. John Herrell said. "People steal guns to commit other crimes."

    Whether through a home burglary or by breaking into cars, some of which are left unlocked, officials sad thieves are getting their hands on guns.

    "When someone steals a gun, it's either for them to hang onto or commit further crimes," Herrell said. "Either they sell it for quick cash or they trade it for drugs."

    Sometimes deputies can come face to face with suspects packing those stolen weapons.

    Lake County deputies recently arrested two men who officials said stole multiple weapons.

    Read: Search for stolen guns after Altamonte Springs gun store is raided by thieves, police say

    "They committed a robbery at a bar in Mount Dora -- Big Dog Saloon," Herrell said.

    Officials said they stole a weapon from an employee.

    "Then they committed a home invasion/robbery in Sorrento where they took two more guns. And the third one is when they did the home invasion in Leesburg, where our deputies interrupted," Herrell said. "As they were leaving, they confronted our deputies with one of the stolen guns, and that's when he shot them."

    Officials said the stolen weapons' serial numbers are key.

    Modisette recorded his, and that helped investigators recover two of his four stolen guns.

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