CASPER, Wyo — The Casper Police Department is reporting a “startling” increase in incidents involving juveniles and unlocked and unsecured firearms, vehicles, and homes, according a release Tuesday.
“Officers have responded to multiple incidents this year involving juveniles in possession of firearms, many of which were reported stolen,” the release said. “Officers encountered these juveniles after being called to various situations where the juveniles were suspected of being involved in other criminal activity.”
“As your dedicated law enforcement agency, we feel it necessary to communicate a sense of urgency around this subject,” the release said, adding that such incidents are, unfortunately, not uncommon.
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“So far, in 2021, Casper Police Officers have responded to over sixty reports of auto burglary. In Casper, twenty firearms have been reported stolen, eleven of which were reported stolen from a vehicle,” the release said.
“While adults are also found to be in situations similar to these, the rise in juvenile involvement is startling,” the release added.
CPD provided a “snapshot of current events:”
On April 21st, 2021, a vehicle was stolen from a resident in West Casper. On April 23rd, 2021, Officers responded to another West Casper residence for a report of an auto burglary in which a pistol along with loaded and unloaded magazines were stolen from a vehicle.
Shortly after midnight on April 25th, 2021, Casper Police responded to the area of North Center and G Street in Casper for a report of shots fired. Officers located the individuals involved in that area, all of which were juveniles. The juveniles were with the stolen vehicle from the April 21st vehicle theft. Upon making contact with the officers, a firearm, later identified as the stolen firearm from the burglary on April 23rd, was found on one of the juveniles. Inside of the stolen vehicle, officers located a pistol holder, ski masks, headlamps, and partially consumed bottles of liquor. No one was injured as a result of this incident.
Two juveniles were arrested on multiple recommended charges.
In a separate incident that occurred on Saturday, April 24th, a juvenile entered an unsecured vehicle in a residential driveway, finding there were no keys, the individual entered the home to retrieve the keys for the vehicle, then drove and totaled the vehicle. The driver survived, and thankfully, no one else was injured. The driver was cited, pending treatment at the hospital.
Due to the involvement of juveniles in these cases, further details cannot be disclosed.Casper Police Department
“As we encounter these tragic situations, we are committed to sharing this information with our community so that more awareness can be brought to light, and we all can do our part to keep Casper the safe community we know and love,” the release said.
“As adults, we have an important role to play in the lives of kids in our City by being good and responsible role models, parents, and friends. “
Firearms that are left unsecured and unattended in vehicles or homes are at a high risk of being stolen, CPD said, and officers are discovering these stolen firearms throughout the course of their duties.
“If you are a gun owner, it is your responsibility to secure your firearm at all times. If you fail to do so, it may end up in the hands of individuals looking to commit further crimes,” CPD said, adding.
“Crime prevention in Casper is all of our responsibility. No matter what the time of day is, lock it up: your guns, your cars, your home, all day, every day.
The determination to charge individuals as juveniles or adults is the decision of the Natrona County District Attorney’s Office, the release said.