Criminals targeting gun stores are increasingly using a new tactic to gain entry; ramming cars or trucks into the building to bypass security measures like barred windows and reinforced doors.
There’ve been several such incidents reported around the country just this week, including a gun shop in Waldorf, Maryland that was hit early Tuesday morning.
The burglars drove a pickup truck into the doors of Fred’s Outdoors at 2895 Crain Highway about 1:20 a.m. The suspects used a tool to mangle the doors and bypassed several layers of security to get inside, the Charles County Sheriff’s Department said.
A metal grate at the entrance was peeled upward, video from the scene shows.
The crime happened at about 4:50 a.m. Thursday at Marin County Arms at 500 Alameda del Prado, Novato police Sgt. Trevor Hall said. The burglar drove a Honda CRV at the business, breaking the front window.
The vehicle was still wedged inside the building when police arrived. Surveillance footage shows the burglar dressed in a black balaclava mask, a black and yellow USC Trojans sweatshirt, black pants and tan colored work boots. He had short dark hair.
The stolen guns were 0.22-caliber bolt-action rifles. The shop staff was taking inventory to see if any other merchandise was stolen, Hall said.
Police in Novato say that the car used by the burglar had been reported stolen, which is another common strategy being deployed by criminals targeting gun shops. We saw the same thing happen a month ago in Durham, North Carolina. In that case, police have been able to make one arrest, but two other suspects are still outstanding.
Jeffrey Allen Velez Jr., 27, of Durham, was charged with possession of a stolen firearm, possession of a firearm by a felon, three counts of larceny after breaking and entering, two counts of breaking and entering, larceny of a firearm, possession of stolen goods or property, personal injury to property, and conspiracy to commit felony.
Velez was served with an arrest warrant for the Feb. 4 break-in at the gun shop while he was at Durham County Detention Facility on previous unrelated charges.
Police said Victor S. Odom, 20, of Durham, is wanted for possession of a stolen motor vehicle, injury to real property, injury to personal property, breaking and entering and larceny of firearms.
Ayhiana Kelly, 19, of Durham, is also wanted in the investigation on accessory charges.
Twin brothers who allegedly used a stolen car to smash in the front of an Indianapolis gun shop back in January have also been arrested and charged with a variety of felonies.