Concerns over stolen guns

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MP5K sub machine gun.
MP5K sub machine gun.

High-powered guns stolen in a burglary of a Northland home could be offered for sale.

Police initially thought 11 weapons had been stolen from a house in Dargaville on Tuesday but have released a final list of 15 firearms that were taken.

Investigators fear the rare items may be offered for sale and are appealing to gun collectors and owners to keep an eye out for them.

"Gun collectors and enthusiasts will recognise many of the makes and models and we're releasing this list in the event that anyone who sees these advertised anywhere or who may be offered one of these for sale, will let us know," Detective Inspector Kevin Burke, of Northland Police, said.

AKM Russian assault rifle.
AKM Russian assault rifle.

"These are high-powered weapons and we are obviously concerned that they are out there somewhere in our community, in the hands of criminals."

Police conducted a forensic scene examination at the property and this continued throughout much of Wednesday.

News of the theft has quickly filtered through to gun enthusiasts and clubs with the Whangarei-based Sporting Shooter Association of New Zealand issuing a statement yesterday. The association said the gun owner was a law-abiding citizen who adhered to the storage requirements of current firearm legislation but was targeted by criminals.

"It should be noted that all these firearms were registered with police and held under strict security rules, in a steel safe with vital parts removed," the association said.

IDS M4 carbine.
IDS M4 carbine.

They suggested the solution to the problem of guns in the hands of criminals and gangs was not more restrictions on law-abiding licensed firearm owners, but tougher penalties for those convicted of stealing and using firearms in crime, and a crackdown on gangs and organised crime. Police also needed to be better resourced to deal with these types of crimes.

"Since drugs appear to be at the centre of most of this criminal activity, where firearms are involved, is it not time to review the strategies of the war on drugs?"

Police confirmed on the night of the burglary, officers were armed as a precautionary measure, due to the possibility the offenders could still be in the area.

Walther P99 pistol.
Walther P99 pistol.

"This was a temporary measure and is no longer in place," a police spokeswoman said.

Police were looking at other recent burglaries in Northland - that have seen at least 20 other firearms stolen in less than a month - to see if they were linked. Police were continuing to appeal for sightings of a white station wagon seen in the area shortly before the burglary was discovered. Officers also want to hear from anyone who might have seen any suspicious people or behaviour in the Dargaville area before the burglary.

- Contact Whangarei Police on 09 430 4520 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

The stolen firearms:

- Walther P99 pistol
- MP5K sub machine gun
- Taurus .357 revolver
- Colt .45 ACP Pistol
- AKS 74U assault rifle (looks identical to AK47 but is a later model)
- IDS M4 carbine
- Arsenal AKM M4 assault rifle
- AKM Russian assault rifle
- Two AK74 assault rifles (looks identical to AK47 but is a later model)
- Two Uberti Evil Roy .357 revolvers
- Walther P38 WWII
- Walther PP
- M70 B1 rifle

- Northern Advocate

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