Gun Criminals Tagging Cars with Stickers? - Internet/Facebook Rumour

25 Mar 2013 - Article No: 1697. Filed under: General | Internet/Facebook Rumour

Tagging a Gun Owners Vehicle

If you own a gun and therefore go to gun ranges or gun shops, you might want to read the attached and keep this in mindÖ..and share the word with your friends/family.

Gun lovers public service announcement: While I was in a Texas gun store today, my car was tagged on the wheel in the parking lot. The gangs do this on wheels or bumpers at gun stores, shooting ranges, gun shows etc. Later when you are parked at a restaurant, hotel, or other location thatís less well guarded or under video surveillance, other gang members spot the marker and break into the car for a quick gun grab. This is so RAMPANT in San Antonio where we were for a National shoot this summer, the Sheriff of Bexar County came out to brief the 400 participants of our competition. Too bad three teams had already been victimized the first day. This is the first Iíve heard of this in Texas.

Please pass this info along to your 2nd amendment list. Daily check your car, truck or motor home for unusual painted dots, marks, check marks or other strange looking symbols that are not normal to your type vehicle. It could prevent you from being a victim of robbery, or even save your life if you catch the thief in the act.

This next comment from a Gun Site instructor:

I donít know how widespread this is becoming, but the info regarding the NSCA Nationals in San Antonio is correct, as all of us who compete in sporting clays know. Competitors there were having their vehicles marked with a small adhesive dot on the rear license plate or rear bumper, then followed for miles and having their vehicles quickly and efficiently broken in to when parked for lunch etc.

Some crews were working the parking lot at the Nationals itself. 27 high end shotguns were taken there recently. They know when 1400 shooters with high $$ competition guns are in town.

BTW I shot with a young man who was trying out a new gun at the Nationals. He and his father lost all their guns and equipment while making a quick stop for lunch at a BBQ place in Corpus Christi the month before.

Messages are circulating the Internet that claim the vehicles belonging to gun owners are being tagged with colored stickers so they can be easily targeted by gun thieves at a later point. The messages claim the vehicles are tagged at gun stores or gun events with red or yellow stickers and are then followed and broken in to as soon as the owner leaves the car unattended.

The messages appear to be completely bogus, and have been circulating since 2011. Most of the rumours assert that the crimes were taking place at the NSCA Nationals at the National Shooting Complex, San Antonio. However the NSC investigated these claims and found them to be false, adding that there were no reported gun thefts during their 2011 event. The NSC response to the rumours reads in part -

Many reports indicate that gangs are targeting the NSC parking lot, marking tires or placing stickers on license plates so they can later be identified by thieves. At a shoot last June, we and a commissioned officer investigated reports of marked vehicles and found no validity. There was no pattern or consistency among the marks that were identified to us, and we found that all the questionable marks reported to us were left there by manufacturers, tire services, or rental car companies. In fact, most marks were so worn or well covered that they could not have occurred in the parking lot.
Full response can be read here.

Also in their response they refute the claim that a police chief met with 400 shooters to warn them of this apparent trending crime. The NRA have also disputed the claim back in 2012.

The notion that gun thieves would use stickers to identify cars with guns really makes no sense at all, since vehicles can easily be identified via their registration plates, meaning the need to place stickers onto a car - and thus risk getting caught doing so, or risk the vehicle owner seeing the sticker and removing it - is entirely unnecessary. A similar hoax became popular recently that claimed houses were being tagged with colored stickers that allowed criminals to identify what sort of dogs were in the house so that they could be kidnapped for dog fighting rings. This rumour was also false.

Variants of this rumour also assert the crime is happening in Denver and other parts of the US.

Gun theft is most definitely a genuine crime and one that all gun owners should be aware of. Gun owners should always ensure that their equipment is secure and do everything they can to proactively deter gun criminals. And it is certainly not out of the question that gun theft criminals may travel to gun stores or gun events to identify potential targets. However there is no evidence or anything to support the baseless claim that these criminals use any kind of tagging system or that guns being stolen from these cars in a trending crime. Thus it is not recommended to circulate these baseless and unsupported rumours.

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