WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — A gun store in between Hutto and Taylor that was burglarized at the end of September was once again targeted by thieves this week.
The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office says the most recent burglary of Blackland Gun Works, located at the corner of US 79 and Farm to Market 3349, happened around 4:15 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 17. The suspects broke in through a front window and made off with 14 hunting shotguns and rifles. Surveillance footage shows six suspects wearing masks and gloves breaking into the business.
“We believe it to be an organized ring of people,” explains Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody. “One, they seemed to know what they were looking for and two, there was a stolen vehicle.”
Deputies found the suspects’ stolen vehicle, a 2016 red Chevrolet truck, about half-a-mile away on Farm to Market 3349. When deputies located the truck it was still running and the driver’s side door was open. SChody says it’s believed that stolen vehicle is from Manor.
On Wednesday, Sept. 27, two men broke into Blackland Gun Works and stole 15 firearms from the store’s Glock gun case. The suspects in this case are believed to be 16-20 years old. One suspect was wearing Chuck Taylor shoes. The sheriff’s office is investigating whether the two burglaries are connected.
It’s always a concern when stolen guns end up on the back market. “How would they utilize these in the drug market, on the streets, the crime in the streets,” says Chody.
GTX Guns in Georgetown had a similar situation in May 2016. That store manager tells KXAN they’ve since added shatter-proof glass and more security cameras. Chody says gun stores need to be doing all they can to prevent smash-and-grab crimes.
“Are they reinforcing their windows with rebar, you know jail bar-type things, those are things they probably need to consider,” explains Chody.
Chody says there was an attempted break-in at a gun store in Georgetown that happened the same morning as the most recent burglary at Blackland Gun Works. Detectives are trying to see if there is any connection.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is offering a reward up to $5,000 for information to the arrest and conviction of the suspects responsible. You can contact ATF at 888-ATF-TIPS, or Williamson County Sheriff’s Office at 512-864-8302. Individuals can also submit information through the mobile ReportIt® app on Google Play and the Apple App Store.
Last year, a University of Pittsburgh study revealed most of the time, when a crime is committed using a gun, the shooter did not legally own the gun. Researchers say 79 percent of suspects used a gun in a crime that was not theirs. They say it is “highly likely” most of those guns were obtained through theft or weapons trafficking.
Video of last month’s burglary: