FREDERICKBURG, VA (WUSA9) - With crowbars, thieves smashed through doors and glass cases.
They then used bins to carry more than 30-stolen firearms out from one Virginia gun shop this past weekend.
Bins are also what you see in the latest smash and grab attempt at a Fredericksburg, Va. gun shop last Tuesday.
They did not get in this time around, but a Maryland ATF investigator says suspects did successfully break into at least three other gun shops in the Virginia and Maryland areas since February.
The latest happened just after 5:40 a.m. on Tuesday, March 14th. The target: SSG Tactical in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
“Not a surprise. Just very thankful they weren’t able to make their way in,” said SSG Tactical owner, Doug Stockman who knows about the other burglaries recently reported.
In Chantilly this past Saturday, police say three suspects (two inside the store and a lookout) stole 35-handguns from 50 West Armory in a smash & grab job that once inside, lasted for about 48 seconds.
The suspects in this burglary are described as:
- Suspect 1: Black male, about 22 to 30 years old, 5 feet 9 inches to 6 feet tall, and approximately 190 to 210 pounds. He had dreadlocks and was wearing a dark blue jacket.
- Suspect 2: Black male, about 18 to 22 years old, 5 feet 11 inches to 6 feet 1 inch tall, and approximately 165 to 185 pounds. He was wearing a dark jacket with a silver stripe down the sleeves, jeans, black shoes, and light colored gloves.
- Suspect 3: Black male, about 18 to 22 years old, 5 feet 11 inches to 6 feet tall, and approximately 150 to 170 pounds. He was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, jeans, black shoes, and light colored gloves.
In Maryland last Thursday, police say two suspects stole 24-hand guns and 7-long guns in about a 1:15 from the United Gun Shop in Rockville.
A Maryland ATF Spokesperson says the third burglary, not as widely reported, happened on February 4th at R & R Guns & Ammo in Brunswick, Md.
With the most recent incident, two suspects run up to the front door. One uses a crowbar to break a hole big enough to stick his a hand through. The suspect then unlocks the glass door. However, this time around, the suspect runs into a second, metal door.
The door’s sign reads, “Smile, you’re on camera.”
The suspect is seen trying to kick the door open but cannot get through and gives up. They drive to the scene and got away in a U-Haul van.
“Our biggest concern is to see these falling into the hands of the wrong people,” said Stockman aware of the other recent burglaries. He believes the same suspects who tried to get into his store are responsible for the area’s other burglaries.
An ATF spokesperson is not willing to say this just yet, but they are investigating the possibility.
One thing they do say is the agency is seeing an increase of gun shop burglaries across the country.
In recent statistics, the ATF found firearms stolen during Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) burglaries have risen by 72.53% since 2012. They recorded 7,488 FFL burglaries in 2016. The number of FFL robberies since 2012 is even worse: an increase of 213.56% since 2012, according to the ATF.
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