HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — The ATF is cracking down on gun store break-ins. The agency recently formed a special taskforce to address gun store breaks. The agency recently formed a special taskforce to address these burglaries. Nicole Strong, a Senior Special Agent with the ATF, said every other week there is a gun store burglary or robbery in Houston.
“Guns can be moving across the border. In addition to that, they can be traded for drugs or other property, some just hang onto the guns to use in their own criminal enterprise,” said Strong.
The taskforce is making a huge impact. So far they’ve been able to solve 50 percent of their cases with the normally forced taskforce. Still, they need your help with several recent break-ins.
Federal authorities said a single burglar struck at a Westheimer gun store just minutes after a group first broke in and stole weapons.
A reward of up to $12,000 is now being offered for the arrests of suspects in the twin heists on July 7 at the Texian Firearms store.
The first robbery happened at 3:59 a.m., when four black men entered the business, took weapons and left in a 1998 to 2003 model, two-door silver Honda Accord. Ten minutes later, a light-skinned Hispanic man arrived on foot and picked up where the other men left off.
In all, 24 firearms were taken. Investigators were able to recover five that were stolen in the second burglary, but the suspect is still at-large.
Authorities released the following description of the first group of suspects:
Suspect 1: Black male, 18 to 25 years old, 5’11” to 6′, skinny build. He was sporting a goatee or beard. He was last seen wearing a T-shirt, dark-colored pants, dark shoes and gloves.
Suspect 2: Black male, 16 to 21 years old, 5’10” to 6′, skinny build. He was last seen wearing a black hoodie with designs, dark-colored pants, dark shoes and gloves.
Suspect 3: Black male, 18 to 25 years old, 5’8″ to 6′, skinny build. He was last seen wearing a light-colored hoodie, dark pants and a backpack.
Suspect 4: Black male, 18 to 25 years old. He was last seen wearing a gray hoodie and white tennis shoes.
Law enforcement described the remaining bandit as a Hispanic male, 18 to 23 years old, 5’11” to 6’1″, skinny build. He was sporting a goatee or beard and dark hair on top of his head in a bun. He left in a 2002 black Dodge Durango.
Just two days later, on July 9, the ATF said there was another break-in at the Boyert Shopping Center on Westheimer, about seven miles away. The crooks crashed a truck into the store. However, the ATF said they were not able to get away with anything because the guns were locked in a vault.
Anyone with information on the case is urged to contact ATF at 1-888-ATF-TIPS or Crime Stoppers at 512-472-TIPS.