Police find guns stashed ‘behind candy bars’ at gas stations in Atlanta

Published: Jul. 13, 2022 at 6:31 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46/Gray News) - Police in Atlanta reported at least seven separate incidences in 2022 where officers have recovered guns stashed inside gas stations and convenience stores.

“We often get consent to go inside and we remove guns from behind candy bars, in the cooler – areas where it’s been stashed to protect a drug trade that is operating out of there,” said Interim Police Chief Darin Schierbaum.

Schierbaum highlighted the recoveries as part of a quarterly report to the City Council’s Public Safety committee.

“Because a drug trade in your district is a ticking time bomb for violence and that is where we’re recovering those,” he said.

According to Schierbaum, Atlanta officers recovered more than 1,200 guns in 2022 – an increase of 11% compared to 2021.

A spokesperson for the Atlanta Police Department said these recoveries in gas stations are a part of proactive sweeps by K9 patrols.

Oftentimes members of the public will call the police, alerting them of potentially criminal activity happening at a gas station or convenience store, according to a department spokesperson.

Upon arrival, the suspected criminals have typically dispersed, but police have repeatedly recovered firearms and drugs left behind.

Schierbaum said that four of Atlanta’s 83 homicides this year occurred at gas stations; 76 of the 83 homicides were by the use of a firearm.

He said that compared to the first quarter of 2022, homicides decreased by 11% in the second quarter.

In addressing safety at gas stations, two local leaders have proposed new initiatives calling for enhanced security cameras at gas stations.

DeKalb County Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson and Atlanta City Councilmember Keisha Sean Waites, proposed legislation to address the violent and property crimes happening at gas stations.

“Anyone applying for a permit for a gas station in the city of Atlanta would be required to have cameras at their facility and store that data for 90 days,” Waites said, who will formally introduce her legislation before Atlanta’s Public Safety committee next week.

She said this legislation will not impact current gas stations.

“That footage would be able to aid and assist should we have any situation where we have property crimes or vandalism or burglaries,” she said.

Cochran-Johnson said Tuesday that her initiative must still be approved by the Board of Commissioners before it goes into action.

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