Federal Agents Seeking Alleged Thieves Targeting Gun Stores
Kansas City, MO. – The ATF is seeking information on a ring of thieves who are stealing guns from federally licensed firearms dealers in the Kansas City area.
ATF agents believe the same group targeted at least five gun stores in several local cities since July 4, and investigators shared new photos of the suspects they are searching for with KCTV5 News.
Firearms dealers around the metro are on alert with the group stealing nearly 50 firearms from locations in Kansas and Missouri.
Several suspects broke into Centerfire Shooting Sports in one of the incidents. They stole ammunition and magazines but did not grab any firearms because they are kept in a secure location overnight.
“The rocks hit the window frame and broke this interior glass,” Centerfire co-owner Jean Basore explained. “I think they are casing the stores before they come back at night. That’s something people can watch for. If you see somebody filming your location or inside spotting cameras, that’s a sign.”
ATF agents examined and compared video surveillance from several burglaries from July 4 through August 11 and quickly realized the same suspects kept appearing on the videos.
The group uses between two to eight people to break into businesses. Then they load backpacks full of guns and anything else they can grab. They leave the shattered glass behind.
The suspects targeted Patriot Pawn and Gun in Blue Springs, Arms Mart in Independence, Centerfire Shooting Sports in Olathe and Hughes Defense in Blue Springs.
ATF Public Information Officer John Ham said investigators are concerned that this spike in firearms theft could lead to the weapons being used in violent crime, adding that officials have little time to re-secure the guns before they are likely lost on the streets.
“We have a very small window to recover those firearms,” Ham told KCTV5 News. “We have a very good record of getting the people responsible, but oftentimes, by a day or two later those firearms have been dispersed throughout the city.”
Hamm said ATF agents and business owners want the theft ring caught and, ”brought to justice before more guns hit the street.”
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