HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (AP) - Hancock County deputies say they're racing to track down nine guns taken during two separate home burglaries in recent weeks.
Ty Ladner, 18, and Brandon Ladner, 25, of Kiln were arrested in connection with a burglary on Fenton Dedeaux Road where three rifles, one shotgun and a handgun were stolen. So far, the guns haven't been recovered, and authorities believe they may have been sold on the streets.
"A legitimate citizen of the United States can buy a gun legitimately," said Chief Investigator Glenn Grannan. "A career criminal, a convicted felon can't purchase a gun legitimately. He can purchase a gun from a burglar or a criminal who has stolen a gun. That's how they get access to weapons. Then that weapon may pass on to someone else for a drug deal, down the road change hands several times. We don't have any idea where this gun is, it's no longer trackable."
Ty and Brandon were charged with burglary and conspiracy to traffic firearms after witnesses heard the two men talk about how they planned to sell stolen guns.
Authorities are asking homeowners to write down serial numbers and secure weapons in a safe when they leave home.
"I believe everyone who owns a gun should have a safe. Either the gun is with you at home, or when you leave," Grannan said. "If you're not going to bring the gun with you when you leave, that's when you secure the gun in the safe. Typical burglars in Hancock County and in other places are opportunist. They're not going to know how to breach the security of a safe. It's not going to happen."
Deputies say they need to find the guns before innocent victims lose their lives.
"It could of course be used in a crime. That's the worst thing that can happen," Grannan added.
According to officials, most thieves do not pawn stolen guns because they would be easy to trace. Along with the weapons, Ty and Brandon are accused of stealing deer sausage and panties from the house.
So far no one has been charged in a separate home burglary on Highway 603 where thieves made off with three 22-revolvers. Those weapons are also still missing.