Smash and grab burglary at gun store

by Wes Mayer

alt

Photo by Jeffrey Leo

The front door of The AR Bunker was destroyed, but the store’s owners were able to rebuild a new wooden wall. 


Coweta law enforcement officials are now searching for three suspects responsible for Sunday’s smash and grab burglary of a Highway 34 gun store.

At 4:51 a.m. Sunday, an alarm went off at The AR Bunker on Highway 34 East, said Lt. Col. Jimmy Yarbrough with the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office. Police responded two minutes later to find the front of the store smashed through by what appeared to be a vehicle, and inside, responding officers found that numerous firearms were missing.

Authorities formed a perimeter and were soon contacted by representatives of Sygma Network Inc. off International Park in Creekside Industrial Park, who reported a vehicle crashed into their fence. According to Yarbrough, law enforcement formed another perimeter around the vehicle, and discovered some stolen firearms were abandoned inside and outside the car — about eight were recovered.

The Coweta County Sheriff’s Office responded to the area with K-9 search units and its helicopter, using its Forward Looking Infrared thermal imaging camera to search for the suspects, Yarbrough said. Personnel with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also responded with K-9 units specially trained to sniff for firearms, but authorities were unable to locate the suspects.

“There might have been a vehicle waiting for them but we don’t know yet,” said Lee Morris, co-owner and sales manager of the store. “The Coweta County Sheriff’s [Office] is assuming the car was stolen since it was left running with no key in the ignition.”

According to Morris, at 4:51 a.m., three men backed a stolen Honda Accord through the front door of The AR Bunker on Highway 34, snatched about 30 long guns and were in and out in 50 seconds.

According to Morris, the estimated cost for the stolen weapons is around $70,000, which does not include the cost of repairing the damaged store, he said.

“We originally didn’t set out to do business today after getting the news,” Morris said Sunday. “But after being here for a few hours, we figured we might as well stay open to try and help make up for the losses.”

“Everyone has come down here asking to help out,” Morris said. “One of our part-time guys has a friend who is contractor who said, ‘I’ll be there in half an hour,’ so we’re grateful for that. Right now, we’re putting up really thick plywood and we’re kind of overbuilding a new wall.”

Investigators do have leads on the suspects, Yarbrough said, and the case is still under investigation.

(Times-Herald staff writer Clay Neely contributed to this report.)



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