Police are investigating a smash-n-grab style burglary at Rapture Guns and Knives store at 8216 US Hwy 98 N. in Lakeland.
At 1:42 a.m. Monday, Polk County Sheriff's Office responded to an alarm activated at the store.
The suspects, as seen on video surveillance, used a tool to disable the front door lock. They smashed the front glass case, stuffed numerous firearms into large bags and left the scene in an unknown vehicle heading south on US Hwy. 98.
The alarm was activated at the time of the incident, but it took several minutes for the notification from the alarm company to be sent to law enforcement.
The store owner's father, Ben Pollock, apologized to the community, but would not admit fault for a lapse in security.
ABC Action News asked Pollock if the store is responsible for 40 illegal guns now out on the streets, "That’s an ethical question, I’m going to let God decide that."
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd issued the following statement.
"Alarm systems alone are not adequate deterrents, or adequate security, at gun stores. We've reached out to all of the gun store owners in the county and discussed the importance of having robust security systems in place. In fact, on December 13, 2016, our detectives went to the Rapture Guns and Knives store, and spoke with the owner about installing security features at his business. He told our detectives that safes are too expensive' and they'll just cut the cables' if he installed those. Gun store owners have a moral and ethical obligation to do everything they can to prevent guns from getting into the hands of criminals."
Rapture Guns and Knivess store is now vowing to increase security, pledging to keep an armed guard on site after business hours.
“There’s nothing like a live body with a firearm," said Pollock. “We will be here 24/7 and somebody will be hurt if they come back.”
If you have any information regarding the suspects or their whereabouts, please contact Polk County Sheriff's Office or Heartland Crime Stoppers.
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