BELVIDERE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - About 20 handguns were stolen from a Montcalm County sporting goods store, leaving both local and federal law enforcement agencies on the hunt for robbers.
The Montcalm County Sheriff's Department told 24 Hour News 8 two suspects broke into GoldStar Outdoors, a sporting goods store about two miles west of Edmore, Wednesday night.
The store's manager Nate Kuenzer told 24 Hour News 8 when he got the call the alarm had gone off he knew immediately it wasn't a false alarm.
"I just felt in my gut it was the real deal," said Manager Nate Kuenzer. "We've had alarm trips before, but never been broke into. But this time I was like the this is the real deal and this is not good."
Kuenzer said the store's first break-in in the 13 years it has been in business was captured on surveillance video, and it only took a matter of seconds.
The two suspects broke in through the back door, immediately went to and smashed the glass display cases where the handguns were, and took about 20.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was at the sporting good store Thursday afternoon completing an audit of the store's guns. Kuenzer would not comment on the exact number of guns taken nor how much they were worth.
Both the Sheriff's Department and people at the store think that it was a targeted break-in because the thieves knew exactly where they were going, and were in and out quickly.
"It's ballsy to steal the guns," said Kuenzer. "It's big trouble if they get caught. Hopefully we catch them. It isn't like they stole a pack of bubble gum, you know, I think this is being taken pretty seriously."
Montcalm County Sheriff's Lieutenant Steve Russell told 24 Hour News 8 the department believes the two suspects parked in a nearby church parking lot.
"The church is right over here," explained Kuenzer. "Through that tree line is the church and it's dark over there and it's easy to access."
Both the feds and the Montcalm County Sheriff's Department are now on the case.
They don't have suspects now, they say, but hope evidence from the scene -- like DNA or fingerprints -- help from the public, and gun serial numbers will lead to arrests.
"That's another thing about guns," said Russell. "I won't say it's a nice thing about guns being stolen, but all guns are individually serial numbered so they're easy to trace. They will show up. These gun will show up. It may be in a couple of days, it may be in several years. They may show up around here, they may show up in Detroit. But that will give us something more to go on. When the guns start to show up, then we can trace back from there."
Russell said even though there are now 20 more illegal weapons on the streets, he doesn't think it will affect the overall safety of the public significantly.
"I would think that there's probably enough guns out there in circulation -- legitimate and otherwise -- that there's in no more danger," said Russell.
The investigation continues. Anyone with information is asked to call the police tip line at 989.831.7593 or the sheriff's office at 989.831.7590.
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