Veteran speaks about guns stolen from his home - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Veteran speaks about guns stolen from his home


Imagine a single burglary putting more than a dozen guns on the streets of Savannah.

That was a reality this week after a home in the Forest Hill neighborhood was broken into and torn apart on Monday.

Police have since arrested 17-year-old John Bailey after discovering the guns in his home, along with stolen ammunition and electronics.

But on Monday, the military veteran came home to a house ransacked by burglars.

"I don't even know how to describe it, just shock, truthfully. Nowhere to walk, step, nothing,” said the man, who wanted to remain anonymous.

After seeing the mess, he knew teenagers were behind it. There are still stains on the ceiling from where eggs were thrown.

Among the items stolen are a computer and a video game console, but the scariest realization was that more than a dozen hunting rifles and other firearms were missing, too.

"The gun safe wasn't breached or broken into, the gun cabinet was and everything was cleaned out of it. All of it,” he said.

And according to police, the majority of Savannah's violent crime is committed with stolen guns.

"It's not very common that somebody goes and buys a gun and then goes and robs a store. They're getting them by some nefarious means,” said Maj. Richard Zapal, Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Department.  

Police said many of these stolen guns are easily accessible when gun owners don't lock them up in safes.

"And then they compound it by not recording their serial numbers. If you have weapons, if you have guns, record the serial numbers. Have a record of it. The majority of guns we recover, we call people after we find out who they belong to and they say, 'Oh yeah, I reported that stolen five years ago, but I didn't have a serial number.' So there's no way for us to track it,” said Maj. Zapal.

But that wasn’t the case for this gun owner. Investigators were able to recover his stolen guns within 24 hours.

"With that, the description of them and the exact amount and count. Knowing what's there in the locations you have in your house where they're secure. That helped tremendously with them being able to identify positively what they had their hands on when they did find them,” he said. 

The victim said he believes the thieves cased his home for days, waiting for him to leave. He also believes they spent hours inside combing through everything the family had.

As for the case itself, the investigation continues. While the guns were recovered, other stolen items have not, meaning more arrests are likely.

Though they're still picking up around the house, he's thankful his gun didn't add to the skyrocketing violent crime rate in Savannah.

"I have no worries. I hope they learn a lesson from what they did. I'm more than happy that everything's been returned and it's off the street and out of incapable hands so to speak, but no hesitation in moving forward in any way,” he said. 

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