GREENSBORO, N.C.-- North and South Carolina remain number one for the most gun thefts from gun shops and dealers in the country.
The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) said in the 2017 fiscal year, there have been 1,034 thefts. Only 140 have been recovered.
A group called the "Blow Torch Crew" is responsible for stealing a number of guns using sledgehammer and a blowtorch to get into about 14 gun shops in South Carolina.
"These individuals crossed state lines from Georgia, South Carolina and into North Carolina and stole almost 385 firearms. Of those 385 firearms, we recovered about 100 of those," Special Agent Gerod King with the ATF Charlotte Field Division said.
The guns were found in 10 states and one was even used in a homicide in Washington D.C. The push now is to get those guns off the streets.
"If we don't get them, criminals do." King said. "They are still out there and that's just to North and South Carolina. That's not counting the other 48 states where guns were stolen."
Forty-six of the guns stolen in fiscal year 2017 came from the Gun and Knife Show at the Greensboro Coliseum. ATF agents haven't found any of them.
Gun shops are the first line of defense. That's why the ATF is working with store owners and workers hosting seminars to educate them on proper record keeping and storage requirements, but most importantly security.
Agents recommend things like camera, alarms, steel bars over windows and barriers in front of stores-- all to deter criminals from stealing guns.
"Criminals will always need this to do what they do. It may trend up or down, but the need will never go away fro criminals to get tools to commit crimes.