This certainly isn't what Chicago needs: more high-powered guns on the streets in the wrong hands. On Friday, federal investigators say it was probably a burglary group that stole the Smith and Wesson M&P 15 sport rifles. They were in a shipment of 50 high-capacity guns, but the rest were left behind. The guns were stolen several days ago.
"They could've been gym shoes or computers, it happened to be firearms," said Thomas Ahern, ATF-Chicago.
And not just any firearms, the style gun that has been used in several high-profile crimes, including the Cornell Square Park attack last fall. Thirteen people were wounded when a gunman opened fire on an outdoor basketball court. Among those shot was a three-year-old boy.
The guns were in a rail container parked overnight in this South Side yard. The shipment originated in Connecticut and was headed to a federally licensed gun dealer in Minnesota.
"They are bulky and hard to carry," said Ahern.
The semiautomatic rifles are popular with sportsmen and gun enthusiasts. They come equipped with 30-round magazines designed to fire what is known as NATO rounds. The 13 guns taken in Chicago are among nearly 200,000 reported stolen, lost or missing every year in the U.S.
"Any time you have a firearm of this magnitude in the hands of a criminal, yes, it's very dangerous," said Ahern.
Of the 200,000 guns that go missing every year, about 6,000 are stolen, most from federal firearms licensees.