The rising number of gun store burglaries is a problem Belvidere Police Chief Jan Noble says he's never experienced during his tenure.
"I've been here 23 years as the department chief and in that time, we have had none," he says.
However, he says one local gun shop has been broken into three times just this year.
Chief noble says the suspects broke into Biglinny's gun shop for the first time on January 3 where they took roughly 30 guns. Following that incident, police say the same suspects proceeded to try to break into that shop two more times.
"The three that I'm speaking of happened in 2018," he says. "We had none in the year 2017 and none in the year 2016."
The spike Chief Noble is seeing in his own jurisdiction mirrors what is happening across the state.
In 2016, 291 guns were stolen from gun stores in Illinois according to the ATF. In 2015, 110 guns were stolen from gun shops. Then, in 2014 74 were stolen. That means since 2014, gun store thefts have nearly quadrupled.
"Firearms in the hands of the wrong people are dangerous and we don't need those ending up in the general public," says Brendan Iber, the Assistant Special Agent in Charge with ATF.
And because the problem has gotten so bad, the ATF created a new group in Chicago called the Federal Firearms Licensees or FFL burglary group to investigate those crimes.
"One gun crime is way too much," Iber says. "It can affect a whole slew of things including moms, dads, kids wherever it ends up in crime you know whether these individuals sell them to do more robberies burglaries or they're just selling them or keep them for their own."
In the meantime, Chief Noble says its two guns shops in town have taken precautions to make sure thieves don't make their way into their shops again.