ATF warns burglars targeting Carolina gun stores

About 50 guns have been stolen from licensed dealers in North and South Carolina since February, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

The agency sent a letter to federal firearms licensed dealers during the week of March 22 to warn them about several burglaries and two attempts in Charlotte, Greenville and Columbia.

The letter says burglaries have taken place in the early morning hours and suspects have been using cutting torches to gain entry into the buildings.

Investigators think suspects are visiting stores before breaking in to look for “vulnerable entrances, visible alarms systems or surveillance equipment,” the letter says.

The letter asks that FFLs in the area report activity like “suspicious foot traffic” or “the presence of burn marks” at entrances. If suspicious activity is identified, the letter requests dealers save surveillance video and try to obtain license plates if possible.

All suspicious activity should be reported to the ATF Charlotte Field Division Office.

One of the attempts happened on March 16, which was caught on video showing two suspects using a cutting torch to try to open a lock.

And two burglaries happened at Lexington Pawn & Gun in Columbia. On Feb. 13, several firearms were stolen. Then, three weeks later, on March 5, just after 2 a.m., it was targeted a second time and more firearms were stolen.