ATF Reports Sharp Increase in Gun Store Robberies

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is reporting a 175 percent increase in thieves taking firearms during robberies nationwide over the past five years -- including several stores in the Houston area.

Special Agent Nicole Strong with the ATF's Houston office says groups of thieves are targeting gun stores and ranges, snatching everything from hand guns to long guns.

“We're average two gun store burglaries and or robberies per month,” she says.  “We had one in Killeen that just happened a couple of weeks ago which was five armed robbers who came in at gunpoint and stole the guns off the wall while the business was open.”

“About a year or so ago we had that big hit at Carter Country, and in that instance we had 11 suspects who broke into the business and stole about 70 guns within about a minute-and-a-half.”

The ATF is urging local firearms dealers to lock their inventory in a gun safe overnight night.  Strong says the agency also is teaming with Houston area police on a special task force aimed to tackle the problem.

The agency also is pushing a new smart phone app called "report it."

“If you know anything about this you can report it anonymously through text, email or phone,” says Strong.  “We currently have very large rewards out, on this last one at Texian Firearms we have a $12,000 reward out.”

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