PLEASANT VIEW, Tenn. (WKRN) — According to a recent report from Everytown Research & Policy, Tennessee leads the nation when it comes to guns stolen from automobiles.

The study analyzed FBI crime data from 2011 to 2020. It reportedly covered 38 states and 49 million people.

In short, the study reveals that the cities with the highest rates of gun thefts from vehicles in Tennessee per 100,000 people were Memphis at 193.6, followed by Chattanooga at 193.1 and with Nashville further down the list at 119.6.

Recent data released by the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department shows 842 guns have been stolen from vehicles in Nashville this year. Nearly 70% of all guns reported stolen in 2022 (1,225) were taken from vehicles.

While Pleasant View, in Cheatham County, doesn’t have numbers that come close to this, one gun stolen from a car is one too many.

That was the case on August 8 around 5:40 a.m. in a parking lot of a motel near I-24.

That’s where suspects broke into a pickup truck and stole a high-powered AR-15.

“These thieves are hunting for something to steal, and you just have to protect your property,” said Pleasant View Assistant Police Chief Adam Wright. “It is alarming to know that some criminal has an AR-15.”

According to police, the thieves stole an AR-15 with a 7.5-inch muzzle, collapsible stock and red dot scope.

Video surveillance of the thieves shows them driving into the parking lot. They parked two spots from the pickup truck. Whether this is luck or by design is unknown.

Twp suspects entered the vehicle, walking behind other vehicles to maintain stealth. One suspect even returned to the car for a flashlight.

A few minutes later, after smashing the truck glass, they got in their dark-colored getaway car and left.

“The victim was very upset. He is a good guy, an upstanding guy who typically takes his gun in with him at night,” Assistant Chief Wright said. “On this occasion, he got in late, just didn’t feel like messing with the gun, and it’s just a mistake on his part.”

Recent reports indicate that Tennessee leads the nation when it comes to firearms stolen from automobiles.

The problem has prompted the TBI to release a public service announcement.

The PSA says, “Tennessee leads the nation in gun thefts, and too often, criminals use stolen guns in violent crimes.”

TBI Director David Rausch then says, “Help us prevent gun thefts. When you are not carrying, secure your guns, not only in your home but also in your car.”

The PSA ends with: “Secure it. Lock it. Help stop it.”

“You have to protect your property constantly, be diligent, they need to remove their guns, protect their property because ultimately these guns are not being used for target practice,” Assistant Chief Wright said. “These guns will make it into the hands of potential gang members.”

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If anyone recognizes the vehicle or has info on the stolen AR-15, you are urged to contact Pleasant View police at (615) 746-0600.