The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and a foundation representing the industry are offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of more than a half-dozen individuals who stole 42 guns from a Georgia store, officials and the business owner said.
Jim Hinsdale, who owns Atlanta-based Chuck’s Firearms Inc., told FOX Business one of his employees was just minutes away from walking in on the shop being ransacked around 2:30 a.m. Saturday while protests and looting were taking place in the area, according to a press release from the ATF’s local office.
Chuck’s was left riddled with broken glass from the empty display cases. The 42 stolen guns ranged in price from roughly $500 to $4,300, Hinsdale said Wednesday.
“That’s a good five figures,” he said when reached by phone.
None of the stolen guns have yet been recovered, Hinsdale said, and the thieves are still at large.
ATF Atlanta spokesperson Cherice Williams said in an email to FOX Business that surveillance footage showed seven suspects who used a light-colored, four-door sedan.
The ATF’s national office was not able to provide any information about nationwide trends or patterns in gun store burglaries. Andre R. Miller, deputy chief of the public affairs division, said the bureau is “aggressively investigating the theft of firearms” from federal gun licensees.
“Our Crime Gun Intelligence Centers are collecting valuable intelligence and sharing this information in a joint environment,” Miller said. “In areas where firearms have been used or illegally possessed, ATF’s Firearms Operations Division is actively working with local law enforcement.”
The bureau’s Atlanta office is offering a $5,000 reward, which is being matched by the National Shooting Sports Foundation. The NSSF has also matched reward offers in Dallas and Pflugerville, Texas, and Miami, Florida, a spokesperson said.
“The thefts of these guns is extremely disturbing. The criminals stealing these firearms aren’t trying to feed their families. They’re using these guns to commit violent crimes and prey upon the most vulnerable in their communities,” the spokesperson, Mark Oliva, said in an emailed statement. “The ATF and NSSF both issued alerts to firearm retailers over the weekend to take all prudent precautions to secure inventory and records in the face of a threat of civil unrest.”