Looters ransack Tampa gun store in smash-and-grab robbery

The trend of thieves making off with weapons is drawing attention from law enforcement.

TAMPA - Dozens of guns could soon be on the streets in Tampa after a big break-in at a firearm store. ATF is offering a $10,000 reward in the hopes of getting them back.

Deputies released video surveillance footage of the smash-and-grab burglary that took place at the Tampa Arms Company at 4023 West Waters Avenue around 3:06 a.m. Tuesday.

The video shows a white pickup truck ramming through the storefront then backing out. Then more than 10 suspects stream into the store and begin looting the store of firearms.

The entire incident takes place in under five minutes as the suspects scour the store. The white pickup truck and a second vehicle were caught on video leaving the scene. Investigators said around 40 guns were stolen.

"We're very concerned," Major Kristi Poore of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said. "The guns are in the wrong hands, and it's dangerous."

The store's owner, Richard Smith, is also concerned. He said the store had an alarm, bars on the windows, and of course cameras, but the thieves still got away with this.

"If it was any other type of retail, jewelry or whatever, jewelry's not dangerous when it hits the streets," Smith said.

Gun store burglaries rose 28 percent from 2013 to 2015, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. In two years, more than 12,000 guns were stolen.

10News called ATF, which is in charge of regulating gun stores. They make sure the owners are keeping track of inventory and sales.

They also encourage stores to take security seriously by locking up guns when the store is closed and using trigger locks so you can't shoot them.However, ATF can't require gun stores to do those things.

They said it would be up to Congress to change that. We reached out to several Congress men and women to ask if they'd push for tougher security requirements for gun store owners. We haven't heard back.


If you have any information about this incident, call 911 or contact the Tampa Police Department at 813-231-6130. You can leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay online or at 800-873-TIPS (8477)

 

 

(© 2016 WTSP)


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