Henrico gun shop seeks justice after 3 burglaries since it opened
HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - Employees at a Henrico gun shop burglarized three times in less than two months believes the people who broke in and stole guns may have been there for the store’s grand opening.
Henrico Police said the first break-in happened Dec. 8, 2019. Mike Collawn, spokesman for New American Arms, said the store held its grand opening the day before.
"I think that people target gun shops, but I don't think [this store is] an easy target by any means," Collawn said.
Collawn said New American Arms relocated to the W. Broad Street location near Willow Lawn for more business and customers. What they didn’t expect to see were criminals window shopping overnight.
"It's been kind of trying on us,” Collawn said. “Obviously opening a new business and then getting stomped back in the ground a few times."
In that December burglary the culprits smashed through a glass window and wall sometime after the store closed following its grand opening celebration, Collawn said.
"We obviously believe it was someone who had been in the store that day, checking the store out, seeing what we had in the shop and then coming back that evening to take,” he added.
Six weeks later another burglary, this time producing surveillance images. Police said at least two people were involved in that Jan. 19 break-in.
"They threw a cinder block through the front door and came in," Collawn said.
Then ten days later (Jan. 29), a group struck again, this time with at least three people. In both of the January break-ins the group of people smashed windows and grabbed several firearms, specifically shotgun rifles and sporting rifles.
"30-40 seconds they were in and out of the store," Collawn said.
As police and ATF continue to investigate, the store has upped security measures to prevent this from happening again.
"[There’s a] new policy on how things are being stored in the evening,” Collawn said. “As well as, the type of glass we're using in the building to make sure they're not something that's going to be penetrated through with simple tools."
Despite these crimes occurring at this newly relocated business, Collawn added foot traffic into the store has been great.
“We have a good strong client base,” he said. “They’ve been very supportive as we’ve been going through the rebuild, if you will, that’s been very costly to us. We are a very small, family-owned company.”
Now the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and National Shooting Sports Foundation are offering up to a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the people responsible for these burglaries.
“It’s great,” Collawn said. “We like to work hand in hand with law enforcement… some of our staff here is former law enforcement. We think it’s great that they’re offering that, and we hope that somebody will see that to give us a higher chance of getting the justice that’s deserved for these people.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the ATF at (888-283-8477) or send an email to ATFTips@atf.gov. Tips can also be made to Henrico police at 804-501-5000.
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