ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - Police made an arrest after a massive gun theft, but they worry many of those guns wound up the wrong hands, as many of the weapons weren't immediately recovered.
St. Petersburg police said Gregory Phillips decided to burglarize an elderly man's home while he was in the hospital in late December.
"To the best of our knowledge, we've been able to account for 76 guns that were missing from Mr. Heale's home. It could be a few more," said St. Pete Police spokesperson Yolanda Fernandez.
Only nine of those 76 have been recovered, meaning 67 are somewhere out on the streets.
"He was going from corner to corner, selling them out of the back of his trunk for $10 to $15, for pills, drugs. You realize they could've gotten into anyone's hands," said Fernandez.
This adds to other similar cases, bringing the number of stolen guns in St. Pete up to 99. There were 293 stolen in all of 2015.
"If you are a gun owner, the security of that gun is your responsibility," said Mayor Rick Kriseman.
Friday, Mayor Kriseman and Police Chief Anthony Holloway pushed a gun safety initiative. Part of it includes giving away free gun locks and car clubs, both aimed at keeping the bad guys away.
"People always talk about the Second Amendment. Take the gun out of your car, take it in your home, lock it up. We're not telling you not to have it, we're telling to be responsible," said Chief Holloway.
Mayor Kriseman added, "bottom line, we want to make sure that guns are only in the hands of responsible gun owners."
As for Phillips, he's been charged with armed burglary and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Prior arrests include drug charges, theft charges and dealing in stolen property.