APACHE JUNCTION, Ariz - In about the length of time it takes to drive through downtown Apache Junction, a dangerous trio got what they were after.
"From entry to exit -- I looked at the video -- it wasn't more than 30 seconds," ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Gabe Pinon said.
He says it was was shortly after the Shopper's Supply closed, back on March 3, 2017, when the three masked and gloved suspects broke into the East Valley department store.
And as a Federal Firearm Licensed Dealer, the store was allowed to sell semiautomatic assault rifles, or semiautomatic high-powered rifles, shotguns, pistols, revolvers, handguns and ammunition.
By the speed at which the the burglars were in-and-out, Pinon feels the thieves knew exactly what they were looking for. Scanning the in-store surveillance video, he showed how the thieves bypassed a certain number of firearms.
"Either hunting shotguns or rifles," he said. They bypass one set of cabinets and go directly to where the semiautomatic guns were being stored. "That's where they made entry," Pinon said.
A crow bar smashed the glass door to the cabinet and they were able to grab six high-powered semiautomatic rifles and then dash out. Six guns that federal agents say represent a dangerous unknown to the public.
"Are the guns going to be utilized to conduct drive-by shootings? To send to Mexico? To negotiate drug sales? We just don't know how (the weapons) are going to be utilized," Pinon opined.
So to help further their investigation, the ATF is offering a $5,000 reward for any information to either recover the guns or apprehend the three suspects seen on store surveillance camera video.
Anyone with information concerning this firearms theft is asked to call Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS (480-948-6377).
Shoppers Supply vice president Tyler Schmidt released the following statement:
“Shoppers Supply is cooperating with local police and the ATF in providing any and all information that may lead to the apprehension of the suspects regarding the theft of firearms from our store in early March. The safety of our employees, our customers, and our community is the highest priority for Shoppers Supply. We have since taken increased security measures to prevent this type of theft from happening again. As this is an ongoing investigation, we will defer any specific questions to the Apache Junction Police Department.”