Shocker, not: Gun map helps criminals

Gold mine for criminals.

Gold mine for criminals.

Ex-Burglars Say Newspaper’s Gun Map Would’ve Made the Job Easier, Safer

Fox News: Reformed crooks say the New York newspaper that published a map of names and  addresses of gun owners did a great service – to their old cronies in the  burglary trade.

The information published online by the Journal-News, a daily paper serving  the New York suburbs of Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties, could be  highly useful to thieves in two ways, former burglars told FoxNews.com. Crooks  looking to avoid getting shot now know which targets are soft and those who need  weapons know where they can steal them.

“That was the most asinine article I’ve ever seen,” said Walter T. Shaw, 65,  a former burglar and jewel thief who the FBI blames for more than 3,000  break-ins that netted some $70 million in the 1960s and 1970s. “Having a list of  who has a gun is like gold – why rob that house when you can hit the one next  door, where there are no guns? “What they did was insanity,” added Shaw, author of “License to Steal,” a  book about his criminal career.

The newspaper published the online map last month alongside an article  titled, “The gun owner next door: What you don’t know about the weapons in your  neighborhood.” The map included the names and addresses of pistol permit holders  in Westchester and Rockland counties obtained through a Freedom of Information  Act request.

While the paper ostensibly sought to make a point about gun proliferation in  the wake of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., the effort backfired. A  blogger reacted with a map showing where key editorial staffers live and some  outraged groups have called for a boycott of parent company Gannett’s national  advertisers. Ironically, the newspaper has now stationed armed guards outside at  least one of its offices.

“They just created an opportunity for some crimes to be committed and I think  it’s exceptionally stupid,” said Bob Portenier, 65, a former burglar and armed  house robber turned crime prevention consultant. Professional burglars are always looking for an edge, and like most folks,  they read the paper, said Portenier.

“Criminals are always looking for opportunity and words travels through the  grapevine—burglars trade secrets and when you see something like that in the  paper, that’s is something burglar’s are going to talk about,” Portenier said. “‘Did you see in the paper where all these people have guns and their  addresses?’ and that kind of stuff, they’ll say.”

While some burglars may use the newspaper’s information to avoid guns,  Portenier said others will target homes with guns. The newspaper’s decision  could even lead to legally-owned guns proliferating on the street, he said.

“That’s one of the first things we’d check out—guns are on the top of the  list of what you want to steal,” he said. “They can walk out with a shotgun and  a couple of handguns and sell them on the street for $300 or $400 a pop. They  can sell them to a gangbanger who ends up killing someone.”

Frank Abagnale, who was portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in the 2002 film “Catch Me if You Can,” and is perhaps the most famous reformed thief to ever  earn a legitimate living by offering the public insight into the criminal mind,  called the newspaper’s actions “reprehensible.”

“It is unbelievable that a newspaper or so called journalist would publish  the names and addresses of legal gun owners, including federal agents, law  enforcement officers and the like,” said Abagnale, who noted that he grew up in  the suburban New York area served by the Journal-News. “This would be  equivalent to publishing the names of individuals who keep substantial sums of  money, jewelry and valuables in their home.”

Good job Journal-News. Hope you are proud of yourselves and will be held responsible if any law-abiding gun owner has their gun stolen and it is used to commit a crime.

DCG

2 responses to “Shocker, not: Gun map helps criminals

  1. Reblogged this on First Teachers.

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