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$10K reward offered for info on theft of 65 firearms

gun theft

Polk Coun­ty Sher­iff Grady Judd said offi­cials spoke with shop own­er, Ben Pol­lock, about the impor­tance of keep­ing his weapons secure just weeks before the break-in occurred. (Pho­to: WFLA)

Author­i­ties are offer­ing a $10,000 reward for infor­ma­tion on the thieves who made off with dozens of guns from a Flori­da gun shop dur­ing a smash and grab bur­glary ear­li­er this month.

Rap­ture Guns and Knives, of Lake­land, Flori­da, was tar­get­ed in the ear­ly morn­ing hours of Jan. 9 and the thieves made off with 65 firearms, accord­ing to an ATF press release.

Secu­ri­ty cam­eras cap­tured footage of the sus­pects, who smashed the glass dis­play cas­es and emp­tied the con­tents into large bags. Author­i­ties believe they gained access to the store by drilling out the lock on the front door.

Police were on the scene with­in two min­utes of an alarm being acti­vat­ed, but the sus­pects were already gone. Accord­ing to Polk Coun­ty Sher­iff Grady Judd, there was a nine-minute delay between the time the sus­pects broke in and the time the sheriff’s office was noti­fied.

Just weeks before the break-in occurred, the sheriff’s office reached out to local gun shop own­ers and empha­sized the impor­tance of ade­quate­ly secur­ing and stor­ing their mer­chan­dise. Accord­ing to Judd, the own­er of Rap­ture Guns and Knives, Ben Pol­lock, told the sheriff’s detec­tives that “safes are too expen­sive” and cables would just be cut by thieves.

Judd, how­ev­er, shot back by say­ing, “Gun store own­ers have a moral and eth­i­cal oblig­a­tion to do every­thing they can to pre­vent guns from get­ting into the hands of crim­i­nals.”

Even after the break-in, Pol­lock, who expe­ri­enced anoth­er break-in sev­er­al years ago, still argued that as a small, fam­i­ly-owned busi­ness safes would be a “huge expense.”

How­ev­er, Pol­lock and Judd agreed on one thing: 65 stolen guns on the street isn’t a good thing.

I don’t know how they plan to get rid of the guns, but it can’t be good,” Pol­lock said.

These guns all go to the streets, they all go to crim­i­nals,” Judd said. “They all go to thugs. And those thugs rob and shoot and mur­der peo­ple.”

The sus­pects are believed to be two white males, but it’s unknown what type of vehi­cle was used to make their escape or in which direc­tion they fled. Video of the sus­pects can be viewed here.

Any­one with infor­ma­tion is asked to con­tact the ATF at (800) ATF-GUNS, the Polk Coun­ty Sheriff’s Office at (863) 298‑6200, or through the ATF’s mobile app. All tip­sters can remain com­plete­ly anony­mous.

The ATF has teamed up with the Nation­al Shoot­ing Sports Foun­da­tion to offer a col­lec­tive reward of $10,000 for infor­ma­tion lead­ing to the arrest and con­vic­tion of the two sus­pects respon­si­ble for the bur­glary.
K reward offered for info on theft of 65 firearms
K reward offered for info on theft of 65 firearms

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