Fox News recently reported that ex-crooks are denouncing the New York paper that published the names and addresses of thousands of the state’s gun owners, saying that publishing the information was nothing less than a road map for criminals planning home invasions and burglaries.
In late December, the Journal News, a small paper in suburban Westchester, New York, published an interactive map featuring the names and addresses of the gun owners in Rockland County. This information, the ex-burglars say, presents criminals with a ready list of easy targets.
“That was the most asinine article I’ve ever seen,” said Walter T. Shaw, 65, a former burglar and jewel thief who the FBI blames for more than 3,000 break-ins that netted some $70 million in the 1960s and 1970s. “Having a list of who has a gun is like gold – why rob that house when you can hit the one next door, where there are no guns?
“What they did was insanity,” added Shaw, author of “License to Steal,” a book about his criminal career.
The map of gun owners’ homes also gives those crooks specifically interested in stealing guns a roadmap for their criminal enterprises.
After all, it is not legal, law-abiding gun owners but criminals using stolen or illegal weapons that perpetrate crimes. And here the paper has given a ready-made list to those who might want to find guns that can’t be traced back to the criminals through legal records.
“That’s one of the first things we’d check out — guns are on the top of the list of what you want to steal,” another former thief told Fox News. “They can walk out with a shotgun and a couple of handguns and sell them on the street for $300 or $400 a pop. They can sell them to a gangbanger who ends up killing someone.”
Regardless of the danger the Journal News brought to its community, it has promised to try and print the names and addresses of even more legal gun owners.
The paper targeted nearby Putnam County, but officials there have refused to release the information.