150 Firearms Stolen From Albuquerque Gun Store by “Sophisticated” Thieves
150 pistols and rifles were stolen from an Albuquerque gun store earlier this week, in what authorities are calling one of the biggest thefts of firearms in the southwestern United States in recent history.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms state that a group of thieves made off with more than 115 handguns and 35 rifles during the heist, which occurred early on Monday morning. Authorities are claiming the thieves, who worked in a group, acted with a “level of sophistication,” cutting the power to JCT Firearms and disabling the building’s security system before getting inside and stealing the guns. The thieves also disabled the gun store’s surveillance system.
Authorities have entered the serial numbers of all the stolen firearms into a national database, but are saying it ranges from possible to likely that the guns will be taken to Mexico. “That’s a tremendous amount of firepower in the hands of criminals,” said Tom Mangas, an ATF spokesman. “This is a priority for us.”
Albuquerque police are saying there’s no indication that the massive theft is linked to the nationwide race riots that have surfaced in the city, but the timing is conspicuous. More than two million Americans have become legal gun owners in the past two months, and the theft appears to indicate that criminals are seeking to arm themselves as well.
The ATF is offering a $10,000 reward to information leading to criminal charges in the burglary, a sum that is being matched by the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
In a national moment where racial tensions are boiling, the theft of the firearms by criminals poses a serious danger to the Albuquerque community, and the American public broadly.