Surveillance video shows one of the suspects run into the West Coast Armory on December 26th and go around the counter. The crook goes out of frame, then re-appears behind the counter. Then in the video, you see them smash in the door to get inside. Another angle from a different camera inside the store shows a car ramming the door and knocking it off its hinges.
The ATF says the car was stolen and later found dumped by the crooks.
The crime is exactly like four other ‘smash and grab’ gun thefts at pawn shops in Western Washington, including one in Olympia where the crooks backed up and rammed the doors.
The ATF says crimes like this this are on the rise. “We`ve had a 50% uptick nationwide since 2012,” said Special Agent In Charge Derek Pleasants. “Unfortunately, because of that uptick, we are starting to see similarities in the modus operandi of the suspects. The mode they use to commit this burglary is consistent with others. At this time though, we are not prepared to link them. The firearms that are taken in these burglaries remain in the communities from which they’re taken, so the neighbors and the communities in the immediate vicinity in Bellevue are the ones that are most at risk. In this case, we`ve partnered with the National Shooting Sports Foundation to jointly offer $5,000 a piece from the ATF and the National Shooting Sports Foundation as a reward. We actively seek the public`s input on helping us solve these crimes."
Agents say all three suspects in the Bellevue case wore hooded sweatshirts and or jackets, gloves and face coverings.
If you have any information on them, or can help recover the stolen firearms, call 1-888-ATF-TIPS or use the ‘Report It’ app on your phone. All tips will be kept confidential.