BROADVIEW HEIGHTS, Ohio — The owner of Stonewall Gun Shop and Pistol Range in Broadview Heights says two 16 year olds were arrested and 13 guns recovered after thieves hit her store early Tuesday morning.
Surveillance video shows a group of five people with hoods up and bags in their hands, break in through a door then bash their way into two showcases before stealing 29 handguns.
The group was in and out of the store in 40 seconds.
"All I could think of was, 'oh my God, more of my guns on the streets, in the hands of criminals," said Diane Donnett, owner of Stonewall.
ATF agents are investigating the thefts, along with Broadview Heights police, Cleveland police and Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority police.
Tuesday afternoon, two people were arrested after investigators say "strong physical evidence" left at the scene pointed to the teens.
But Donnett worries, because of their age, the thieves will get off with a slap on the wrist.
"This is an adult crime, this is not a kid crime," she said. "It's not bubblegum you're stealing from a 7-11."
Donnett says it's the second time teens have broken in and stolen guns in the last six months.
The store was burglarized back in July of 2018. Donnett said at the time three thieves broke in through the back door while one stood outside the shop acting as a look out. Two minutes later, the thieves walked out the door with nearly two dozen 9-millimeter guns. The guns are valued at about $10,000, but Donnett said they are worth much more on the street.
She says it's part of a nationwide trend where adults are turning to teens to do their dirty work because juveniles often face less punishment for the crimes.
"If it's an adult, it's 10 years," said Donnett. "These kids are just in juvi until they're 18."
Now she's planning to write Ohio lawmakers and push for more severe charges if kids are involved in gun store break-ins.
"The state of Ohio needs to step up and say 'wait a minute,' because these firearms that are being stolen are being used in murders, in robberies," said Donnett.
An ATF spokesperson wouldn't confirm teens were arrested for the latest break-in. But, Suzanne Dabkowski says decisions about charging criminals depends on a number of factors.
"You have to look at the individual and their background," said Dabkowski. "This is a case when we do arrest individuals whether it's for a break-in at a licensed gun dealer, or other gun charges, we always work cooperatively with the agencies and the other localities that are involved to make sure the person is prosecuted in the most apppropriate venue."