Firearms stolen earlier this month from the State Department of Fish and Wildlife office in Yakima were being stored in an evidence gun vault says Yakima Police Capt. Jay Seely.

When the suspect entered the building he had access to the vault

He says when the suspect cut a hole in the side of the building on January 2 it gave him access to their evidence gun vault. The guns were being stored as evidence in criminal and civil cases. The Yakima Police Department Forensics Unit was able to identify the suspect after a palm print was found at the scene of the burglary.

The suspect hasn't been named but police know who they are looking for

Police haven't named the suspect but if found and arrested prosecutors are prepared to charge him with 19 counts of 2nd Degree Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, 19 counts of Theft of a Firearm, 2nd Degree Malicious Mischief and 1st Degree Burglary. Capt. Seely says they believe the same suspect responsible for the stolen guns has also been involved in a series of "burglaries and theft incidents throughout the Yakima Valley within the last year." Authorities say they hope to make an arrest soon so they can possibly recover the guns.

Many times stolen guns are used in other crimes in Yakima but you can help

Stolen guns are a big problem in Yakima. In fact last year the Yakima Police Department created a video on social media and they're asking for your help to cut serious crime by locking up your firearms whether you're at home or in your vehicle. Making sure your gun is locked while in your vehicle is vitally important say police because they say 50% of all guns stolen in Yakima come from vehicle prowls. Authorities say the guns are then used on the street in many serious crimes including gang related shootings.

Anyone with information that may be relevant to this case is urged to contact the Yakima Police Department at 509-575-6200 or by calling 9-1-1. Tips can be also be reported to Yakima County Crime Stoppers by phone at 1-800-248-9980.

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