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Altoona police continue to search for gun

Altoona police continue the search for the gun that was used in the shooting death of 15-year-old Devon Pfirsching.

Owen Southerland, 15, allegedly confessed and claimed he threw the pistol while fleeing the scene after he shot Pfirsching in the head during a botched robbery late Tuesday in the alley on the 100 bock of Fourth Avenue, but police have yet to find the weapon, according to charges filed in the case.

Southerland told officers the gun was a Glock with an obliterated serial number that he bought illegally for 3 grams of marijuana and $110.

Southerland is charged with first-degree murder, robbery and related charges. His alleged accomplices in what police say was a set-up to rob Pfirsching of marijuana — 16-year-old Logan Persing and 15-year-old Damien Green — both face charges of second-degree murder and robbery. All three remain detained to await a preliminary hearing.

Altoona police Sgt. Matthew Plummer said Friday that investigators are actively tracking down leads and searching for the handgun.

Plummer noted that stolen guns continue to be an issue, particularly firearms stolen from unlocked vehicles.

In the past 12 months, a total of 12 guns were taken from unlocked vehicles, with four of those stolen in the first two months of this year. One was stolen on Jan. 5 and one was taken Feb. 15. Both thefts occurred in the Garden Heights area of the city.

Plummer said that during the overnight hours of Feb. 19 and Feb. 20, two guns were stolen from unlocked vehicles in the Edgewood Drive and Crescent Road area.

Plummer urged gun owners to use common sense and be mindful of where they leave their firearms while also locking their vehicles.

“People in areas with less crime leave their vehicles unlocked, and these thieves know this,” Plummer said.

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