A Polk County gun store is the victim of a burglary for the second time in two months after suspects broke in and got away with at least 46 handguns early Sunday, January 29.
Deputies responded to a burglar alarm indicating broken glass at Guns Galore located on 2440 U.S. Highway 92 East in Lakeland within three minutes of it going off and when they arrived, they discovered the front door lock was broken and the glass gun cases were broken into.
No suspects have been arrested at this time. The gun store does not have video surveillance installed.
Deputies say at least 46 guns were stolen from the displays in the store near the front of the business. Other businesses in the area were asked to turn in surveillance video if they had it.
"First and foremost, there are at least two dangerous suspects out there who stole nearly 50 handguns and will now use them and traffic them to a bunch of likely violent thugs and criminals who will in turn use these guns to prey on the innocent public to rob, intimidate, hurt, and possibly kill. If anyone saw something, or if you hear something about this crime, please call us or call Heartland Crime Stoppers. We want to find and arrest those responsible for this crime, and we want to recover as many of these guns as possible. Second, retail gun dealers have a moral and ethical obligation to safely secure their firearms inventory from theft. Guns Galore was burglarized before. They broke in with relative ease, as they did again this weekend. Is it too much to ask, Guns Galore, to harden your store and make it a little more difficult for your firearms to be stolen and transferred to the criminal marketplace? We know that determined thieves are capable of going to extraordinary lengths to separate hard working people from their hard earned property and the fundamental responsibility of this theft (and others) lies with the thieves who committed the crime. But there must be a special public safety obligation on the part of gun store owners to harden gun stores from theft." Grady Judd
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives responded to the scene to assist with the investigation.
Deputies say surveillance video from a neighboring business shows a light colored sedan turn onto Peachtree Street and park behind the gun store, where two suspects were seen running to the car and driving westbound from the gun store location.
There is another surveillance video from another business that shows the two suspects seen dressed in dark pants and dark jackets carrying bags and tools.
The gun store was the victim of a burglary on December 24, where 12 firearms were stolen. The business owner had not installed surveillance or security measures after the burglary in December.
FROM POLK COUNTY SHERIFF:
ANYONE WITH INFORMATION ABOUT THIS BURGLARY 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 ONTO www.P3tips.com to submit your tip via the web. For a secure and password protected mobile app for your smart device, go to the app store and download the free "P3tips" mobile app. No caller ID, no recorded lines, no tracking cookies, no saved IP addresses. ANONYMITY IS GUARANTEED!