Obviously, guns are among burglar’s favorite things.
Stolen guns are usually recovered one of three primary ways:
(1) A police officer stumbles onto a gun in the course of other duties, such as making a traffic stop, runs the serial number through the National Crime Information Center (NCIC–that’s the FBI) computer, and gets a hit.
(2) A gun is pawned at a local pawn shop and its serial number and make and model are entered into a local police database. This requires local laws that mandate pawn shops enter all pawned guns into a police database. They really don’t like to do that. They understand a significant number of pawned guns will be stolen, and if the police seize them, that’s a loss. Most would rather not know. Plausible deniability means profit. Such programs also require police employees be specifically tasked with monitoring and matching burglary reports with pawned guns. Interestingly, many gun owners can’t provide serial numbers of stolen guns for the police, which forces the police to work with descriptions and other less specific factors. The more difficult and time-consuming the task, the less likely the police will do it.
(3) Detectives specifically tasked with solving that kind of crime take the time to catch burglars and work backward to recover everything they stole.
The most likely of these three is, in most places, the first. Most cities do not have pawn shop databases, and most law enforcement agencies–specifically smaller agencies–don’t have detectives specifically tasked with investigating the kinds of crimes that will make recovery of stolen firearms likely. Even major cities that do have dedicated crimes against property details are commonly so overwhelmed by the sheer number of those crimes that they have little time to spend on any individual case.