BELLEVILLE, Ill. – Gun stores are taking more measures to prevent break-ins from happening after a recent string of smash and grabs around the Metro East area. The recent break-ins have many people concerned that it could happen again.
“Just the fact that they’re just displayed like jewelry, you know what I mean,” said Trisha Posey, Belleville residents. “You can just shoot open a case, you can easily get open a key, I mean they’re just so easily accessible.”
Gun store owners and managers are looking for solutions to prevent more break ins.
“The first couple of nights we were putting them in the gun safes and locking them up, but again labor. More handling and all that so we opted to go this way,” said Tom Petrekovich, manager of Curt Smith’s Outdoor.
He said he began working with police and the city of Belleville to put concrete barriers up after seeing video of recent break ins.
“They’re driving right through. A car that fast. If you look across the street, if there is nobody here, they can hit 50, 60 miles an hour, hit this curbing and still go right in the building,” Petrekovich said.
He said the concrete barriers are temporary and they are working to find a permanent solution. For now, he wants to make sure his store isn’t the target of the next thief.
“You don’t want guns to get out because they’re on the street. You don’t know what criminal intent is behind it all,” Petrekovich said. “Two, it’s going to cost us money to replace that. We’ve already paid for and then insurance claims could go up. So, it just keeps escalating on costs.”
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) is investigating the recent break-ins and they are asking anyone with information to call the ATF at 1-800-ATF-GUNS.