Judd: Burglarized gun store had insufficient security

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd has his say about the weekend's alarming theft.

LAKELAND, Fla. (WTSP) -- Dozens of guns are on the street tonight after three men broke into Titan Arms gun shop in Lakeland. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said they made off with 36 guns, which will likely be used in crimes, and he’s putting some of the blame on the store.

“It was a grand slam burglary waiting to happen,” Judd said.

Judd says the owner told investigators he knew his security cameras didn't work and that he forgot to turn on his alarm. For that reason, police never got a call when the crooks broke through the burglar bars and took the guns right off the walls.

He said the whole operation took only two minutes.

“It was low-hanging fruit for professional burglars, and that's what happened,” he said.

Surveillance video from other businesses shows the brown pickup investigators think the burglars were driving when they struck about 2:30 a.m. Sunday. They can be seen in another video getting into the truck.

Mike Dunn, who owns Vets Army & Navy Surplus in Lakeland, has several layers of protection at his store.

He has a metal roll-down door for the front door and windows. The guns are kept behind a metal cage, guarded by cameras and motion sensors.

“The easier you make it for somebody to steal it from you, then as proven somebody out there will steal it,” Dunn said.

It's a lot of money for all the security, but Dunn hopes it'll prevent the guns from getting into the wrong hands and prevent him from becoming the next target.

Titan Arms declined to comment for this story. Meanwhile, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is helping the Polk County Sheriff with this investigation.

There is an $8,000 reward -- $5,000 from ATF, $3,000 from Heartland Crime Stoppers Florida. Call Crime Stoppers at  1-800-226-TIPS (8477).


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