Though “like Fort Knox,” gun shop hit
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.