SEATTLE — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is asking for the public’s help to solve a rash of recent gun thefts in which the suspects are using stolen vehicles to ram their way into stores.
There’s been one in Olympia, one in Lakewood and one in Tumwater.
“There was a total of 48 firearms that had been taken from these three separate incidents,” said ATF Special Agent Yvonne Rios.
On May 15, three suspects used a stolen vehicle to break into the AAA Loan and Gun Shop in Lakewood.
“When they drove through the building, they smashed out all of the wrought iron, there was concrete blown out," said owner Scott Peskin.
A witness reported seeing four suspects loading firearms into a vehicle, possibly a white Honda Accord or Hyundai, and then fleeing the scene. A second vehicle, a green Honda Accord that had been stolen in Lakewood, was used to break through a wall in the front of the business.
The following morning, Tuesday, May 16, at about 3:40 a.m., three suspects burglarized Tumwater Pawnbrokers at 6021 Capitol Blvd. SE. The suspects rammed the front door of the pawnshop with a dark-colored Honda CRV, took four rifles from a wall display and then smashed a glass display, taking some jewelry before fleeing in the CRV northbound on Capitol Boulevard.
The third burglary occurred at I5 Guns & Ammo at 7914 Martin Way East, at about 2:40 a.m. on Friday, May 26. Four suspects rammed a stolen vehicle into the front of the store and stole 15 firearms. They then fled the scene in another vehicle, possibly a Honda. One of the suspects is believed to have dreadlocks.
"There is a concern that these firearms may end up in gun shows and getting into the hands of the wrong people. There have been a few firearms that have been recovered, to include one from a recent shooting, so we are concerned for the public safety," said Rios.
Investigators can’t say for sure if it is the same suspects but there are a lot of similarities.
ATF is offering a reward of up to $5,000, which will be matched by the NSSF for a total possible reward of up to $10,000, for information on any of the three burglaries. Anyone with information about those responsible and/or information leading to the recovery of the stolen firearms should contact ATF at 1-888-ATF-TIPS (888-283-8477), email ATFTips@atf.gov, or contact ATF through its website at www.atf.gov/contact/atftips.
Tips may also be submitted to ATF using the ReportIt® app, available on both Google Play and the Apple App Store, or by visiting www.reportit.com. All calls and tips will be kept confidential.