WilCo homeowner robbed at gunpoint, tied up while thieves empty gun safe

According to an e-mail from the Escalera Ranch HOA to the residents, it happened on Marshall Court Tuesday night.  A spokesperson for the Williamson County Sheriff's office says an orthopedic surgeon lifted his garage door to take out the trash.  Two Hispanic men with masks and gloves accosted him.  According to the HOA e-mail, the two men put a cocked gun to his head and demanded he open his gun safe. 

The thieves forced him to the ground and tied his hands and feet while they emptied the safe, went through the house to steal other things then took off in his car. The homeowner got free and went to a neighbor's house for help.  The car was later found in Austin.

"This kind of crime is very serious compared to your average burglary where nobody is home and I hate to see it happen anywhere, especially to one of our neighbors," said Blake Betts.

Betts has lived in the neighborhood for four years.  He and his wife are on edge after the incident.  The WilCo Sherrif's office says they're not sure if the homeowner was targeted but it also doesn't appear to be random.

"It seems like they would have had to know his routine about taking out the garbage.  Possibly know about the gun safe and things like that.  It doesn't seem random to me.  I hope it's not random because that's even scarier," he said.

Steve Ou is a firearms expert with Guns Warehouse in Cedar Park just 15 minutes away from Escalera Ranch.

Ou says it may be best not to keep every gun in the safe.

"It does warrant maybe having at least one gun handy in case you do need it in a situation like this," Ou said.

Ou says gun stores are not privy to information about which guns are stolen when someone tries to bring a gun in to sell.  But he says they can usually tell by the seller's behavior.

"One of the common factors is they know very little about the gun.  They know it is a gun, they know they want to sell it.  Normally they will ask way below market value for it because they have no idea how much it's worth" Ou said.

But he says thieves don't usually bring guns to reputable shops anyway.

"Guns and ammunititiom unfortunately do have a black market value.  A significant black market value," he said.

Betts is hoping Williamson County will track down the men who robbed his neighbor.  In the meantime he's making sure the doors are locked and the alarm system is working.

"I'll be taking the trash out in the daylight from now on," Betts said.

The Williamson County Sheriff's Office says they have no suspects at this time.  If you have any information, call Williamson County.

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