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An AR-15 style rifle, two pistols and about 600 rounds of ammunition were recently stolen from two unlocked vehicles in Rapid City after two other handguns and a rifle were taken in the same way earlier this month, according to the Rapid City Police Department 

"We've had it happen way too often," Capt. John Olson said Monday. "It's not acceptable to leave (guns) in locked or unlocked cars."

Olson, who oversees the police department's Criminal Investigation Division, said no one should ever leave guns or other valuable items in unlocked cars or in locked cars for prolonged periods of time. He said people should bring the items inside at night as thieves usually break into cars during the evening. 

The most recent incident was reported at 4:30 a.m. Sunday on the 300 block of Saint Andrew Street, a news release said. There had been a report that a vehicle had been burglarized and police discovered that it was left unlocked and a loaded pistol was stolen from the center console. 

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At 8:10 a.m Friday, there was a report of a vehicle burglary on the 2100 block of Maywood Drive. The pickup owner said he left his truck unlocked and that his AR-15 style rifle, a pistol and around 600 rounds of ammunition were stolen. 

It's more common for handguns used for personal protection to be stolen than rifles, but Olson said he's seen cases where rifles and large amounts of ammunition have been taken in the past. 

He said stolen weapons are often used for criminal activity, such as drug dealing, and are often recovered during police stops or arrests and then linked to a specific theft through serial numbers. 

Although Olson implores gun owners to lock their vehicles if they are transporting weapons, he said he's not aware of any case where a gun owner has been prosecuted for failing to secure a gun that was later used in a crime.

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— Contact Arielle Zionts at arielle.zionts@rapidcityjournal.com

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