Though “like Fort Knox,” gun shop hit

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Libby Rainey

Two bur­glars broke into a highly pro­tected pawn shop in Colorado Springs early Mon­day, mak­ing off with nearly a dozen weapons.

The de­ter­mined thieves broke through six lay­ers of glass, ply­wood and dry­wall, drilling a 1-foot-square hole into an ex­te­rior wall at Top Dol­lar Pawn, store man­ager Wal­ter Mauro said.

The bur­glars then used an ex­tend­able me­tal bar with a hook to snag the weapons, mak­ing off with eight guns and some BB guns.

The op­er­a­tion was so pre­cise that Mauro said the two men must have been fa­mil­iar with the store lay­out.

“Most crooks don’t go to that sort of ef­fort,” Mauro said. “There’s prob­a­bly no pawn shop that has as much se­cu­rity as we do. We’re locked down like Fort Knox in here.”

The U.S. Bureau of Al­co­hol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Colorado Springs Po­lice De­part­ment are in­ves­ti­gat­ing the theft, which was a more tac­ti­cal ap­proach to weapons theft than the “smash-and-grab” method that has swept metro Den­ver in re­cent months. There has been a surge of cases in which bur­glars ram ve­hi­cles into store­fronts and steal what they can.

Gun thefts from Colorado deal­ers hit a 10-year high in 2016, when 273 guns were stolen. With more than 100 guns stolen statewide since Jan. 1, ATF spokes­woman Lisa Meiman said Colorado is on track to match that num­ber in 2017.

In 2015, 121 guns were stolen, and only 56 in 2014.

“We don’t know why there’s be­come such a trend,” Meiman said. “It’s very con­cern­ing to us.”

The rash of gun thefts has put author­i­ties on high alert and caused them to heighten se­cu­rity around the state.

ATF is­sued a gun-theft alert in Jan­uary that au­to­mat­i­cally calls all gun deal­ers in the county fol­low­ing a break-in, the ATF’s Meiman said. The bureau also sug­gests gun deal­ers in­stall video sur­veil­lance, mo­tion de­tec­tors, an alarm sys­tem and other se­cu­rity mea­sures to pre­vent bur­glar­ies.

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