AUSTIN (KXAN) — A $5,000 reward is being offered for any information that will lead to the arrest of three suspects who stole 34 firearms from an Austin gun store last month.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) says Storied Firearms, located at 9300 West Highway 290, was burglarized just after 4 a.m. on Aug. 28. Authorities say three suspects broke through a front window and stole nearly three dozen handguns and rifles. Surveillance cameras captured the suspects as well as the suspect vehicle, which appears to be an SUV, possibly a Nissan Rogue.
The gun store’s owners boarded up the window, and said Tuesday their priority is getting the stolen firearms off the street to make sure no one is hurt with one of them. Surveillance video from inside the shop, provided by law enforcement agencies, show the suspects smashing a display case and filling a large bag with rifles and handguns, then taking them back out the broken window.
The video appears to show the burglars in the store for just over a minute.
ATF Resident Agent in Charge Brian Garner told KXAN their priority is also getting the weapons out of the criminals’ hands. The suspects have already shown a propensity for violence, he said, and the agency wants to make sure the weapons are not used in any violent crimes.
Where the guns end up after they’re stolen, though, is not an easy answer, he said. Sometimes they’re sold or traded locally; sometimes they end up farther away.
The case, a joint investigation between the ATF and the Travis County Sheriff’s Office, is ongoing, and Garner could not provide updates on suspects or the possible recovery of any weapons to date.
Firearm burglaries are on the rise in Texas and across the country, according to numbers compiled annually by the ATF. The FFL (Federal Firearm Licensee) Theft/Loss report covers reports of stolen or lost firearms year by year. In 2016, the last data set available, Texas recorded 48 burglaries and a total of 639 firearms stolen in those thefts. That’s up from 447 guns stolen in 35 burglaries the year before.
Nationwide, 7,488 firearms were reported stolen in 558 total burglaries in 2016, compared to 4,721 stolen weapons in 436 burglaries in 2015.
The reward money in this latest case is being provided by the ATF and the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Anyone with information about this crime should contact ATF at 1-800-ATF-TIPS (800-283-8477), email ATFTips@atf.gov, or contact Travis County Sheriff’s Office at 512-854-1444.