Houston gun burglary worrying local gun shop owners that can’t verify if a gun is stolen
A brazen burglary is caught on camera in Houston as a group of thieves broke into a gun store and, stole dozens of guns. This has local gun shop owners in Austin concerned about where those weapons and other stolen guns end up.
As many as 10 suspects raided the store by ramming a large pick-up through a plate glass window, and using a chain to pull out the security bars. Robert Elder is a Special Agent in Charge at the Houston ATF Office. "What will be troubling to me that you've got that many people involved because then what it potentially means is that you've got that many people now distributing firearms."
Many times, stolen guns are ending up on the streets and Austin gun shop owner Michael Cargill said eventually they'll end up back in a pawn shop or gun store. But he said he may never even know if the gun is stolen. “A person walks into this door, and shows me a gun, and says ‘Hey can I sell this gun to you?’”
Cargill said the only way to figure it out is on his own. “I can just take a look at it, take a look at that person, and make a judgement call on whether or not I want to purchase that gun.” Right now he said law enforcement has given him a few options, call 911, the APD Firearms Hotline, or send APD an email. “I am not going to call 911 on every customer that walks into the door. You can call this other number and by the way no one monitors that number but leave us a message and we will get back to you,” he said.
He’s hoping for something more immediate. “We really need some type of system. I can't call ATF, the FBI, I can't call the Austin Police to verify that if a gun that is right in front of me and a customer wants to sell it to me has been reported stolen.”
Back in November several men stole handguns from GT Distributors in North Austin. “We'd love to be able to assist that gun store in getting some of those guns back into that gun store where they belong and not back into the hands of criminals,” Cargill said.
For now, he hopes his instincts don't let him down. “That's very unnerving. I should not have to go with my gut feeling. We need that person that walks into that door, and they are bringing a stolen gun into the store, they need to be arrested immediately not leave a message for the Austin Police Department.
Fox 7 tried to contact the APD they referred us to ATF. We did speak with an ATF official on the phone, she said she was going to look into it for us and get back to us.