Raleigh Police are investigating several car break-ins at an apartment complex from overnight, including one case involving a gun that was stolen.
Witnesses discovered shattered windows inside the parking lot of the Peace Raleigh Apartments, located off Capital Boulevard, shortly before 5:00 Tuesday morning. Raleigh Police tell ABC 11 they are working to determine how many people were impacted.
"I woke up to the cops calling me, telling me my vehicle had been broken into," said Kody Coleman.
Coleman's immediate fears were recognized: his gun was stolen.
"It was my grandfather's. It was a family heirloom. It was a .38 Special Tec Series. They won't really make them anymore. So, pretty heartbroken that I probably am never going to see it again. He passed away a couple years ago and it was my main heirloom from him," Coleman explained.
Coleman is fairly new to the area, and believed the garage to be secure. He explained he travels often and keeps the gun in his vehicle for protection, a practice which he acknowledged he will reconsider in the future.
"Even if you think your place is secure, it's probably not. Maybe not leave stuff in your vehicle. For people who took it. I get you can get profit from it, but it's more than just a weapon, it's something that's not replaceable," said Coleman.
Off-camera, four other residents told ABC 11 that windows of their vehicles were broken, though they reported nothing was stolen. Further, some residents expressed anger that they had not been notified of the incident by the apartment complex. ABC 11 reached out to the apartment complex and Kane Realty, which owns the property, but neither have responded as of publication.
The break-ins happened less than 24 hours after Governor Cooper was joined by law enforcement officials to announce the NC S.A.F.E. Initiative, which focuses on safe storage. The $2.5 million campaign includes public service announcements, as well as the purchase and distribution of 25,000 gun locks and 200 safes.
"I know sometimes it's unavoidable, but I say in the absolute event you have to leave your firearm in your vehicle, I urge you to remove the magazine and utilize a gun lock. So in the event it's taken, it cannot be readily used," said Raleigh Police Chief Stella Patterson during Monday's event.
Patterson noted there were 582 guns stolen from vehicles in Raleigh in 2022. As of Monday, there had been 179 guns stolen from vehicles year-to-date.