Gun store break-ins, number of stolen firearms on the rise both locally and nationally

CLEVELAND -

Break-in after break-in at gun shops locally and nationally have officials concerned as the number of stolen guns continues to climb.

Earlier this month, thieves rammed a car into Top Shot Firearms in Streetsboro and stole ten guns in 22 seconds. One person has been arrested in connection with the burglary, but the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and local police departments continue to search for two more suspects. So far, one of the 10 stolen firearms taken from the Portage County business has been recovered in a Cleveland neighborhood. 

"We believe in all likelihood that's where the other people and firearms have ended up," said ATF Public Information Officer Suzanne Dabkowski, referring to the location of the first recovered gun in this case. 

Across the country, the number of gun shop burglaries has steadily increased from 436 in 2015 to 577 last year, according to ATF statistics. The number of guns stolen in these break-ins is up from 4,721 in 2015 to 7,841 last year. 

"That's a concern for us, " added Dabkowski. 

The number of gun store burglaries in Ohio has varied only slightly, but the number of guns stolen has increased by nearly 100.

Jonathan Leeson is a local gun shop owner who opened Double Tap Shooting Supplies in Parma Heights a year ago, and these break-ins have him on alert.

"I'm lucky to be close to a police department, and they pay attention to us at night," Leeson said.

But Leeson doesn't only rely on the extra police eyes to keep his store safe. He also takes his own steps to make it hard for thieves to target his store, including securing the firearms at night. 

ATF is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the Streetsboro burglary. Anyone with information is asked to call ATF. 

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