Suspected burglars charged for multi-county gun thefts

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ST. CHARLES COUNTY, MO (KPLR) - Dozens of stolen guns are on the streets after burglars stole them from homes in five local counties. Two suspects are behind bars for stealing more than $80,000 worth of property. Police said the two men were desperate to buy heroin.

Authorities in St. Charles County are blaming most of the crime in their jurisdiction on drugs.

“Huge, it’s huge. That gives a sense of relief to the victims that have been out there,” said Captain David Kaiser, St. Charles County Police Department.

Detectives arrested 35-year-old Kevin Chandler and 38-year-old Gary Moore and charged them with burglarizing homes in the rural areas of St. Charles, St. Louis, Lincoln, Warren, and Jefferson counties since early July.

As many as 40 guns alone were stolen in St Charles County. Only three have been recovered. Police said the suspects would take them to St. Louis City and trade them for drugs.

“They were exchanging them for heroin,” Kaiser said.

While police said the men did not take the guns to pawn shops, they did pawn other items, like tools, jewelry, and televisions on at least 40 occasions. It’s believed only a fraction of all the items have been recovered. The guns worry police since the suspects had no trouble stealing some because they were not secured.

“These guns are found on nightstands in full view. These guns do end up in the hands of criminals,” Kaiser said.

Someone could get killed with one of the stolen weapons.

“It would not surprise me in any way shape or form,” Kaiser said.

Bond on each suspect has been set at $100,000 cash-only. It will take some time before authorities determine exactly how much stuff and how many guns were ripped off in all the counties.

Police said both suspects have extensive criminal histories, including crimes of violence.