Gun store break-ins on the rise in Georgia

Gun store break-ins on the rise

According to the federal ATF, there's been an increase in stolen guns in Georgia. Last year, almost 12,000 of them were recovered and traced in our state. Madison Cavalchire took a closer look at gun store break-ins in Perry.

In 2012, Sports Center on Sam Nunn Boulevard in Perry was burglarized.

"Approximately 44 different types of guns were taken, mainly handguns," Monty Lowery says.

The Perry Police Department says they recovered some of those guns. It all started when a man carrying a stolen Sports Center gun was pulled over at a traffic stop in Atlanta.

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"They arrested him at that traffic stop, and that led to the rest of the group that had broken into our store," Lowery says.
 
Major William Phelps says Sports Center was the second gun store in Perry to be burglarized. In 2011, another store, Little's Bait and Tackle, was burglarized twice in a two-month period. Little's Bait and Tackle closed last year.

Just last year, a stolen gun from Little's Bait and Tackle, was recovered in New York.

"That particular gun, from what I understand, was used in the untimely death of a New York City Police Officer," Phelps says.

Major Phelps says it's common for stolen guns to be used in violent crimes in other states.

"We want to make sure that store owners that have guns in their shops, that they don't get into the wrong hands, because if they get into the wrong hands, then you can't track them, you don't know where they are, and they can be used to commit violent crimes," Phelps says.

Major Phelps says many burglars use vehicles to break through the entrances of gun stores. He says most gun thefts are committed in under five minutes.

"Place some type of barrier between the door and the parking lot, so a vehicle can't just run through the door and get through that way," Phelps says.

That's just what Lowery, over at Sports Center, says they did, along with other security improvements.
 
"We have new alarm systems, enhanced video, and then we put in a roll-up door," Lowery says.

Since the burglary at Sports Center in 2012, Phelps says there have been no more reports of gun store break-ins in Perry.

Major Phelps says the Perry Police Department is confident more guns that were stolen from Sports Center and Little's Bait and Tackle will continue to be recovered.


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