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ATF seeks public's help after string of gun store thefts

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Posted at 5:25 PM, Feb 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-04 22:03:59-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is asking for the public's help for information regarding three gun store burglaries that happened in a week.

Two of the break-ins and thefts happened in Tennessee, the other nearby in Alabama. ATF public information officer Michael Knight said the robberies may be related, but the investigation hasn't definitively linked them yet.

"It's very concerning not only because of the number of firearms that were stolen but because now these firearms are in illegal commerce," said Knight.

The first burglary happened in Alabama on the 22. Then, two days later, another burglary happened in Cleveland Tennessee at Cleveland Shooting Sports. 15 guns were stolen from that store.

Then, four days later, Franklin Gun Shop was broken into. 41 guns were stolen from that location.

Knight said it's concerning because the guns could either make their way into the Middle Tennessee community or perhaps into areas with high gun crime like Chicago.

"Oftentimes these firearms are going to be used again in additional violent crimes," said Knight. "Not only potentially in that area, but in a very short period of time they may end up in Chicago or New York or other parts of the country because once that firearm is used in a crime, the suspect wants to get rid of that as quick as they can."

Surveillance footage shows the burglaries take place. The owner of the Cleveland store said the thieves were only inside the business for a minute and ten seconds.

For the two Tennessee burglaries, a reward for $5,000 each was offered on information that leads to arrests and the location of the stolen weapons.