32 stolen guns are now on the streets where you work and live, and in the hands of dangerous criminals. Investigators in Polk County believe the crooks could be linked to a half-dozen crimes.
Auburndale Police say the trend is for the burglars to break into homes in broad daylight.
Victim Adriana Shadrick tells 10News that the burglars got in through their back porch and smashed out a kitchen window. One crawled through the window and opened the door for the others. Once inside, they burst through a locked bedroom door, busted down a locked closet door, and snatched the 300 pound gun safe.
“They literally wheeled out the entire safe,” Shadrick says.
The safe had 32 of her husband Jack’s guns in it. He’s a firearms instructor and collector. The pistols, shotguns and rifles are worth about $20,000.
“This is something he's been collecting since he was like 17. It’s been a long time. One [of the guns inside the safe] he built himself. There was a lot of sentimental value for him,” says Shadrick.
They also stole Adriana's sense of security. She's normally home during the day.
“If I'm home alone now, my gun is by me, by my side all the time,” says Shadrick.
Investigators linked the Shadrick’s break-in to another armed burglaries on Summer View Circle in Winter Haven that same day, they say by connecting the getaway car to a larger crime spree.
Auburndale Police say a white Lincoln Town Car with a beige top has been spotted in at least two of the burglaries. They believe a white four-door car is also involved -- similar to a Toyota Echo or Chevrolet Malibu --as well as a hunter green 4-door Ford Explorer.
Polk County detectives say neighbors spotted two men knocking on doors to make sure the coast was clear. The men are described by investigators as the following:
- Suspect 1 - A black male, 5’10” tall with a muscular build, approximately 17-25 years of age. He was wearing a white, short-sleeve shirt, bleached jeans, and had his face covered with a black ski mask. He was armed with a black, semi-automatic firearm.
- Suspect 2 - A black male, 5’7” tall with a skinny build, and appeared to be the same age. He was wearing a black, short-sleeve shirt, and black jeans. He had brown eyes but had his face covered with a black ski mask. He was armed with a black, semi-automatic firearm.
Investigators suggest if you're home and a stranger knocks, call out to let them know you're there, but don't open the door. If you’re concerned, call police.
The Shadricks hope the burglars are caught before anyone gets hurt.
“I’m a pretty good shot, so I fear more for someone coming to my door for them than I would for me,” says Shadrick.
The Shadricks have given the serial numbers of the guns to police.
Investigators also recommend bolting down a gun safe and having an alarm system.
Experts say the best way to get back a stolen gun is by having a detailed description and making note of custom features. Ask police to submit your gun’s serial number to the National Crime Information Center. The database is used by law enforcement nationwide. Also, list your gun as stolen on websites like Hot Gunz Stolen Firearms database and Stolen 911.
Stolen911.com also lists 5 tips for daytime security, HERE.
Anyone with information who wants to remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward is asked to call Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS or log on to P3tips.com.