Three gun shops in Northeast Ohio were targeted by thieves in five days, and the break-ins may be related, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
First, in the early hours of July 11, thieves were caught on surveillance video burglarizing Stonewall LTD, Gun Shop and Pistol Range in Broadview Heights. Diane Donnett with Stonewall said 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.
In the days following, a gun store in Upper Sandusky was hit and 15 guns stolen. Then there was an attempted burglary at a Mentor gun store.
“We’re not a 100% sure [the break-ins are related]. We’re open to that possibility because they happened so close in time,” ATF spokesperson Suzanne Dabkowski said.
Many guns stolen from gun shops often become crime guns.
“They may be traded for drugs, involved in some sort of gang use,” Dabkowski said. “Not a good scenario for why these guns left the shop the way they did."
This is the first burglary at Donnet’s store in at least 24 years. She said there is increased security to make sure it is the last.
There is now a $10,000 reward for information about the burglary at Stonewall. Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-ATF-GUNS. Tips can be anonymous.