BRIDGETON, Mo. – A federal bureau has increased the reward for information in the case of gun store burglaries.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) announced that they are increasing the reward from $7,500 to $10,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest, and recovery of firearms. 

Authorities are investigating several recent thefts from licensed firearms dealers in the St. Louis area. Thieves have targeted Metro Shooting Supplies in Bridgeton, Michael’s Arms Accessories in Edwardsville, and Osage County Gun, in Wright City in recent months.

Investigators hoped increasing the reward would generate more tips to help catch a ring of thieves they believe are responsible for six store break-ins over the last six weeks. Investigators also believe that these suspects have tried to break into stores on both sides of the river. They attempted to break-in at the Academy Sports stores in St. Peters and O’Fallon, Illinois, as well as Mid America Arms in St. Louis. 

The agency said the thieves got away with 50 firearms. In each incident, anywhere from 5-10 suspects gained entry into the licensed gun stores. They used stolen cars to smash into the store to force entry.

ATF said no one has been hurt in the robberies so far, but that could change at any time. The agency said merchants have secured their businesses to make it harder for criminals to get guns.

The owner of Metro Shooting Supplies said he was the third shop to get hit by the thieves. He said he’s had to spend around $80,000 to fortify his business.

Anyone with information about this theft should contact ATF at 1-800-ATF-GUNS (800-283-4867) or email ATFTips@atf.gov. Contact ATF through its website or by texting ATFKC at 63975. 

Tips can also be submitted using the Reportit app, available from both Google Play and the Apple App Store, or by visiting www.reportit.com