Fox News interviewed some former crooks who called the list of handgun permit holders published by the Journal News in New York a “gold mine” for criminals.
Reformed crooks say the New York newspaper that published a map of names and addresses of gun owners did a great service – to their old cronies in the burglary trade.
The information published online by the Journal-News, a daily paper serving the New York suburbs of Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties, could be highly useful to thieves in two ways, former burglars told FoxNews.com. Crooks looking to avoid getting shot now know which targets are soft and those who need weapons know where they can steal them.
“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. …
While the paper ostensibly sought to make a point about gun proliferation in the wake of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., the effort backfired. A blogger reacted with a map showing where key editorial staffers live and some outraged groups have called for a boycott of parent company Gannett’s national advertisers. Ironically, the newspaper has now stationed armed guards outside at least one of its offices.
“They just created an opportunity for some crimes to be committed and I think it’s exceptionally stupid,” said Bob Portenier, 65, a former burglar and armed house robber turned crime prevention consultant.
Professional burglars are always looking for an edge, and like most folks, they read the paper, said Portenier. (Read More)
That’s not all. Officials in Putnam County, NY are refusing to comply with the paper’s Freedom of Information Act request, and are willing to go to court to defend their position. One official has said that stalkings of those whose names are on the Journal News‘s list have already begun.
“This one narcotics officer from Westchester County just retired. Dedicated his whole career to protecting the citizens of Westchester County and they can’t protect him now. He said I’ve never been so fearful for the safety of my family… This one lady whose been stalked for years in West Chester County. She finally found peace, two years without the stalker contacting her. Two days after that paper released her information she gets hangups all night long. She lives in fear, her and her three daughters.”
But that hasn’t stopped Connecticut lawmakers from trying to make gun owners’ information public. Maybe instead we should make public the names and addresses of criminals and people who are insane. That would make more sense, but then opportunistic politicians would have their home addresses easily accessed by the public.