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Federal agents noticing trend; thieves targeting guns stores in NC, SC

Published: Mar. 23, 2016 at 9:32 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 22, 2016 at 9:32 AM EDT
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The Gun Outlet (Mark Davenport | WBTV)
The Gun Outlet (Mark Davenport | WBTV)
The Gun Outlet (Mark Davenport | WBTV)
The Gun Outlet (Mark Davenport | WBTV)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Someone smashed a car into the back of a west Charlotte gun shop Wednesday morning. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police believe it was an attempted burglary.

The incident happened at Hyatt Gun Shop on Wilkinson Boulevard at approximately 3:20 a.m. The driver crashed into the back of the building and cut the gas line, but wasn't able to get into the store.

The owner of the store, Larry Hyatt, said it was a group of people, and even if the thieves were able to get through the steel door, they wouldn't have gotten far inside the store.

"Motion detectors, cameras, back up alarm systems, bars, unbreakable glass. You name it - it's in here," Hyatt said.

Still, Hyatt said the attempted break-in is unnerving.

"The suspected number of people," Hyatt said. "When you  see not one, or two but you get six, seven, eight, ten people working together on a break-in  - that's something we've never had happen in the past. And it's happening in a lot of places."

Guns stores are being targeted. Federal agents tell WBTV that over the last year there's been a trend in North and South Carolina by thieves attempting to break-in and steal guns.

Police say a similar incident happened at The Gun Outlet on N Tryon Street, Wednesday morning as well. At approximately 2 a.m. a Jeep smashed into the back of the store. No guns were stolen.

"Luckily we just had the proper locks on the doors," owner Matt Wallace said. "You always try to be ready in case something like this does happen so luckily we were able to prevent it."

There's a curb and a hill separating Wallace's store's back door from the parking lot.

The thieves weren't deterred.

"I didn't expect to ever see somebody try to drive up the hill and go over with the car," Wallace said.

He said the steel door buckled a little but didn't collapse when the Jeep Cherokee hit it. However, the thieves' vehicle fell apart.

At Hyatt Guns, Larry Hyatt wants to know what's behind gun stores suddenly being targeted.

"It makes you wonder if they were told to get us guns - we'll pay you a lot of money. Someone is telling them that," Hyatt said. "It just seems - why else would they be hitting gun shops like they are. There's a reason they're hitting guns shops. Maybe it's because they can turn them into quick cash."

CMPD is investigating and say no one has been charged. Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

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