Gun thieves hunted
POLICE are anxious to find a horde of high specification firearms stolen during a gun store break-in.
Gun City’s Auckland shop and warehouse on Carr Rd, Mt Roskill, was burgled into just before 10pm on Tuesday.
The store is part of a chain that is the country’s biggest firearms dealer.
Twenty five weapons including six 12 gauge shotguns, seven Tikka bolt action rifles with silencers and scopes, and eight 12 gauge Beretta semi-automatic shotguns are missing.
‘‘I am concerned that these weapons have been stolen in the first place and, moreover, that they could be traded amongst more criminals,’’ Auckland City west area commander Inspector Jacqui Whittaker says.
‘‘Clearly the firearms are already in the wrong hands and we are working hard to track down the offenders and guns.’’
The intruders appear to have entered by forcing a wooden door open.
Police say the shop’s security was not as robust as it could have been and it appears the burglars knew what they were looking for.
Gun city director David Tipple defends the store’s security.
‘‘The 25 firearms stolen in the raid are identified by brand, serial number, and barcode.
‘‘The guns were secured in locked racks, which successfully prevented the theft of 98 per cent of the store’s firearms,’’ he says.
Gun City has been in Mt Roskill for years and this is the first time it has been targeted.
Puketapapa Local Board member Nigel Turnbull says the shop has kept a fairly low profile and he only became aware of it recently.
‘‘I’m sure if anyone had a problem I would have had an email by now,’’ he says.
But its owner, Mr Tipple, is somewhat controversial.
In 1992, he was acquitted of shooting and wounding three burglars who ran from his farm shed after trying to steal motorcycles.
In 2002 and 2003 he spent 21 months in prison in the United States for gun offences. He was arrested at Los Angeles airport after US Customs officials found 29 guns in his baggage. He was also travelling with 340 rounds of live ammunition.
Mr Tipple was convicted of failing to notify his airline in writing about the guns and sentenced to a year in a New Mexico jail.
A week before he was due to be released Mr Tipple was extradited to Georgia where he was held for nine months over charges of illegally buying 363 guns, including rifles, shotguns and pistols.
The charges were eventually dropped and he was allowed to return to New Zealand.
In 2008 he was disqualified from driving for eight months and fined after a late-night high-speed pursuit with Christchurch police.
Ms Whittaker is urging anyone who is offered a powerful weapon at a discount price to call them. She says people who own or trade firearms need to be licensed, and it is important that if the weapons appear for sale online or on the black market, police are notified.
Entry point: Intruders appear to have entered Gun City by forcing open a wooden door. Heist: Police are investigating a break-in at Gun City where 25 firearms were taken.