Mob smashes into Tampa gun store, steals weapons & ammo

- A mob of brazen burglars stole dozens of weapons from a Tampa gun shop Tuesday morning, after breaking in by driving through the front of the store.

Surveillance cameras inside Tampa Arms Co. recorded the crime at about 3 a.m. The video shows a truck driving into the front of the business and, moments later, a swarm of thieves -- wearing masks and dressed alike -- running into the store, stealing about 40 weapons and taking off.

The crime took about 60 seconds.

"It seemed to be well-calculated," said Richard Smith, the store's owner, adding he got a call notifying him of the burglary a couple hours later. "He said that they cleaned you out. So I said that I'm on my way."

Smith said the majority of the weapons he had out were handguns, shotguns and rifles.

"It's very unsettling because we go above and beyond here to make sure that all the guns are in responsible hands," he said. "One gun on the street that's not supposed to be there is just too much, so we feel bad about that. That's our main concern."

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, along with the National Shooting Sports Foundation, issued a joint reward of $10,000 for information.

"Anytime that you have any firearms on the street, whether it's one, five, 30 or 50, it is critical to get the firearms off the street," said ATF spokesperson Mary Harmon Salter.

This marks the third large-scale burglary of a gun store in the Tampa Bay area since May; the other two happened in Pasco and Polk counties.

Anyone with information should call ATF or the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
 

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