Polk investigators now believe gun shop heist resulted in theft of 76 guns

Posted at 5:53 PM, Jan 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-10 22:29:32-05

Authorities investigating the brazen gun-shop heist in Lakeland Monday morning now believe the thieves stole nearly double the number of guns than previously thought.

Detectives say the thieves stole 76 guns in all from Rapture Guns and Knives in Lakeland.

The store had a surveillance system and alarm, but it wasn’t enough to deter the theft. Sheriff Grady Judd called out the owners of all gun-shops late Monday, saying more needs to be done.

ABC Action News found a store in Polk County that’s found a different method during overnight hours.

“Whether we have 20 guns or 200 guns every night, we lock them up. It’s our protocol,” said Katherine Erdly, Manager of West Coast Pawn and Guns in Lakeland.

Every night, about an hour before closing, staff members take every single long gun and hand gun off the shelves and into one of five enormous safes.

It’s simple and incredibly effective. In the 10 years since they opened, they haven’t had a single break-in.

“That’s blood on our hands and we don’t want to be responsible of that,” she said.

The store also has more than 40 surveillance cameras and a complex alarm system.

“Why make it easy for them?” Erdly added.

Monday night, the father of one of the owners of Rapture Guns spoke to ABC Action News, apologizing for what happened and promoting that they would do better.

Judd suggested that maybe it’s time for tighter regulations at the state or county level, to force gun shop owners to take better care of their weapons when they’re not there.

“People like the man who shot the Orlando police officer is going to have those guns,” he said.