Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

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March 28, 2014

Theft shows need for assets’ ID

Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — A Pauls Valley area burglary this past weekend looks to provide a textbook example of why homeowners should write down and store the serial numbers of their valuables.

In this one case the victim of a home theft helped himself by keeping that information on the firearms he owned.

The stolen guns’ serial numbers, provided to law enforcement, soon led to the location and arrest of the Pauls Valley teenager now formally accused of stealing the weapons.

Now in custody and facing a felony charge of second-degree burglary is 18-year-old Haden Michael Peck.

A filed affidavit shows Peck admitted to entering the PV area rural residence this past Saturday, which was not believed to be locked at the time.

Peck has also reportedly confessed to committing another burglary from the very same residence back in mid-February.

In both thefts some type of firearm, either a handgun or long gun, were taken.

One official says the public should take notice of what this homeowner did as he provided serial numbers allowing investigators to positively identify the stolen guns.

Garvin County Sheriff Larry Rhodes says this is a prime example of why these numbers, especially for firearms, should be recorded and kept somewhere safe.

“The ability to provide law enforcement a good description and serial numbers of stolen firearms greatly increases the likelihood of recovering the guns later,” Rhodes said.

In this case officers from another county were able to confirm the guns as stolen and subsequently make an arrest due to the fact that the serial numbers were known and the firearms were entered into a national database called the National Crime Information Center.

Peck’s arrest came on Sunday when authorities received a tip he would be at a flea market in Sulphur and have the stolen guns with him.

Officials in Murray County were contacted and found Peck. They were able to recover three guns, two determined to have been stolen in the Garvin County burglary the day before.

Two handguns stolen from the latest burglary were not recovered but are thought to have been traded in the Pauls Valley area for cash and drugs, said Rhodes.

He indicated the investigation is continuing as additional arrests are likely. Peck is currently being held in the Murray County jail.

Rhodes points to an underlying problem of a high demand for guns on the streets and by criminal organizations.

“Based on recent investigations, the current trend we are seeing is for thieves to sell the stolen guns for cash and drugs to mid-level dealers who in turn take the firearms to the larger cities,” he said.

“These guns are then traded for dope to people who are engaged in the larger drug and gun distribution organizations.

“This scenario that is playing out is driving the theft of guns.”

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