CHARLOTTE -- Federal agents say 900 guns were stolen in North and South Carolina this year -- making the Carolinas the highest in the country for firearm burglaries and thefts right now.
Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) say it's a trend that's grown significantly over the past two years. ATF agents say some of the guns are staying in Carolinas but they're concerned some guns are being sold in other parts of the country.
ATF says they're working with state and local law enforcement agencies to recover these guns and arrest suspects as quickly as possible. But in the meantime, agents are urging gun and pawn shops to increase their security.
"Find ways to fortify your security because when you do it, it makes it more difficult for these criminals to actually make entry or gain entry. Either they are unsuccessful or it slows them up enough so local law enforcement can respond,” said Special Agent Gerod King, ATF Charlotte Field Division.
"To beef up our system, we're using new technology. We don't want a picture of the criminal, we want to catch the criminal. So our new system is set up to actually catch them, it's being monitored 24 hours a day,” said Larry Hyatt with Hyatt Gun Shop.
In the past year, the ATF has also offered more than $175,000 in reward money throughout the Carolinas for information leading to arrests.