ATF: Gun shop, pawn shop robberies on the rise in the Carolinas

Local pawn stores being hit for weapons

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) says that gun store and pawn shop robberies are on the rise again.

Over the past two weeks, several gun stores and pawn shops have been targeted by thieves in the Charlotte area.

The Cash America Pawn Shop on Wilkinson Blvd. in Charlotte was hit by thieves on October 12. The attempted robbery led to an officer-involved shooting and several suspects being taken into custody.

Two spots in Concord were targeted by thieves just days later.

Police said people broke through the roof of the Ideal Sportsman on Highway 601 on October 17. They said the burglars were looking to steal guns.

A car was then crashed into the front of the Eagle Guns and Range store on Roberta Church Road near Harrisburg on October 21. Police said an "undisclosed amount of property" was taken from the store.

Dustin Helms, Vice President of Eagle Guns and Range, said 16 guns were stolen from the store. He said the thieves were never even visible on the security camera footage.

"They were only in there about a minute," said Helms. "They never really got to where the good part of our cameras was or in the main part of our store."

Earlier Monday, two men were arrested after reportedly trying to steal from Mount Holly Gun and Pawn in Gaston County.

Larry Hyatt has owns Hyatt Guns in Charlotte. While his store has gone unscathed the past few weeks, it has been targeted by thieves in the past. He worries about the unsettling trend.

"The numbers surprise me because we've been in business 60 years," said Hyatt. "We've never seen break-ins this common."

Both Hyatt and Helms said they have made security modifications to their businesses to reinforce the infrastructure and allow for a quicker reaction time for police officers.

Gerod King, the spokesperson for the ATF's Charlotte Field Office, confirmed that gun store and pawn shop robberies are on the rise in both North Carolina and South Carolina.

"ATF is working with local law enforcement in all gun dealer thefts-robberies in the area," King told WBTV.

Officials have not confirmed whether guns were the item being targeted in the pawn shop robberies.

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