A parent found a stolen gun ditched next to a tee-ball field during a game in Brandon.
Deputies say the parent was retrieving a foul ball and found the gun under an oak tree at All Person's Park on Thursday. The gun was reported stolen from the area the day before.
"What would have happened had one of the little baseball players or one of the many brothers and sisters who attend baseball games had found that gun." Sgt. Troy Morgan, HCSO, said.
Morgan is an investigator in HCSO's district II. He says this is the latest example of a grown trend of stolen guns throughout the Bay Area.
"Unfortunately this is what happens." He said. "We find guns all the time, they're just ditched."
Thieves have stolen a total of 23 guns in HCSO's district II so far this year. 15 from cars, 8 from homes. The majority of the time, the owners leave the guns unsecured, according to Morgan.
Morgan says the guns can move quickly across counties and state lines.
Earlier this month, deputies caught two men staying in a trailer off of US 92 in Seffner. They were wanted for a burglary in Pasco County where more than $100,000 worth of jewelry and 4 guns were stolen. All of the guns were in cases and drawers, none were locked in a safe.
Deputies recovered two of those guns. The other two guns could be anywhere.
"(Other agencies) will recover one of our stolen guns in California. They'll recover a stolen gun in New York lets say. So these guns travel. Criminals travel and they know they're (the guns) stolen, so they unload them." He said.
He says the best way to put a dent in the amount of stolen guns is for gun owners to lock their car doors and secure their weapons inside of their homes.
"This comes down to the gun owners being responsible for their weapon systems to ensure that they're locked up." Morgan said.