Columbia man charged after stealing several guns

COLUMBIA, Mo. - A suspect was taken into custody for stolen guns and other items in east Columbia. Police arrested Dustin Lipich, 23, on Thursday around 3:30 p.m.

The owner of Carl's Towing claims Lipich, a former employee, broke in the back door of the shop and stole several rifles, two handguns and five tablets computers.

Police got a search warrant for Lipich's apartment and found all the stolen items in the trunk of his vehicle as well as inside his apartment just nine hours later.

Lipich is still in custody and appeared in court on Friday.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF, said there are key ways guns are moved from legal distribution to illegal distribution.

The first way is corrupt, federally-licensed gun dealers. The ATF reports corrupt dealers typically have high numbers of missing guns.

Many times the guns are sold 'off the books' or under the table. In 2005, the ATF examined 3,083 gun dealers and found 12,274 'missing' guns.

But the most common way guns end up in the wrong hands is by 'straw purchasing'. Straw purchasing is when someone with a clean record buys guns for someone who is prohibited to purchase a firearm. More than 50 percent of all gun trafficking is done this way.

Boone Co. Sheriff's Detective Tom O'Sullivan said, "There will always be a high demand for firearms.  If a criminal wants to get a firearm they will do whatever they can to get it."

The ATF reported Missouri ranks number eight in the nation for gun violence. In 2012, 52 illegal firearms were recovered in Columbia.

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