LAWRENCE, Ind. – A reward of up to $5,000 is being offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the burglary of a Lawrence gun store.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) announced the reward Monday and surveillance photos of the suspects were released Thursday.
According to ATF, at least two individuals broke into KS & E Sports at 8756 Pendleton Pike and stole seven firearms. Officials say it happened sometime during the overnight hours of August 5-6.
The vice president of neighboring business Alexander Screw Products said he discovered it Monday morning while walking his dog behind the building.
"We walked right by the hole in the wall and Milton stuck his head in the wall," Jesse Alexander said. "I almost went by and didn't see it."
ATF is working with the Lawrence Police Department to investigate the incident.
"Several handgun caliber firearms were stolen and we'd like to identify the individuals who committed that and hopefully recover those firearms," Lawrence Police Deputy Chief Gary Woodruff said.
It's at least the second time thieves have hit the store. In 2015, more than 40 guns were stolen.
"It's an issue whether it happens on the East side of Indianapolis or it happens in another community," Woodruff said.
Last week, more than 40 guns were stolen from a shop in Cloverdale. Last month, several were taken from a store in Columbus. Earlier this year, thieves crashed into a business in Anderson stealing guns.
"The numbers in Indiana they've been on the rise, not necessarily within Marion County, in the City of Indianapolis, but in the outlying counties we've seen an increase in the numbers and nationwide, gun store burglaries, gun store robberies are up nationwide," Patrick Hand, the group supervisor for the ATF in Indianapolis, said.
Hand said responding to these crimes is a priority.
"So typically we find that the guns are recovered in other crimes and they will be traded for narcotics, they will be used in various other firearms related violent crime," he said.
Anyone with information about this crime is asked to contact ATF at 1-800-ATF-GUNS (800-283-4867). Information can also be sent to ATFTips@atf.gov, through ATF’s website at http://www.atf.gov/contact/atftips.