Thieves targeting hunters during deer season

Deer season is in full force in Arkansas. But while hunters are getting antsy, so are thieves and they're taking full advantage.

MAUMELLE, Ark. (KTHV) - Deer season is upon us. Thousands of avid hunters are expected to take the woods this weekend.

"November 11 is the first day of modern gun and we know that people are going to go and enjoy the outdoors that we have to offer here in Arkansas,” said Captain Jim Hansard, of the Maumelle Police Department. Adding his office is hopeful you won’t let your excitement cloud your judgement.

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"We want everybody to have a good time, but they need to be mindful, there are crooks out there and they are watching. You need to be ultra-careful with your vehicles."

Putting your guns in your truck the night before may seem like a good idea to allow yourself a few extra minutes of sleep, but Captain Hansard said it won't be worth it if your gear is gone when it's time to leave for the deer woods.

"Before daylight on Saturday morning, and you're preparing for the hunt, you start the truck to get it warmed up and you go back in the house; that is an open invitation for criminals to come in steal your stuff. We've actually had this happen," he added.

Already this year, Maumelle police have investigated 137 thefts from vehicles. In only nine of those cases, the thief used force. And fifteen guns have been stolen from cars. The vast majority of those guns were taken from unlocked vehicles.

"It's no secret to anybody what you're doing. Most people have a rig, a 4-wheeler behind a truck and it's clear that they're about to go hunting. It's clear to people with bad intentions also,” Captain Hansard explained. If your gun is stolen, not only are you out, but you're putting your community at-risk.

“It will be used in the commission of a crime somehow, even by an illegal sale or even using it during the commission of a crime; a robbery or some sort of shooting, so that's the last thing we need: more guns out on the street. Gun ownership is a responsibility we are asking people to step up and do the right thing and be mindful of what you need to do to keep your community safe," he said.

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Arkansas Game and Fish Commission estimated 300-thousand Arkansans will be heading out to the woods this weekend.