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Fall City gun shop owner foils early morning break-in

In less than two weeks, two Puget Sound gun-area shops were targeted. In both cases, law enforcement reports that vehicles were used to smash through the front door.

FALL CITY, Wash. — In less than two weeks, two gun shops were targeted in the Puget Sound area. In both cases, law enforcement reports that vehicles were used to smash through the front door.

The most recent case happened at Fall City Firearms early Monday morning.

"It all happened in moments,” said Lee Stallman, the owner of Fall City Firearms.

"Somebody stays here at the gun shop every night for security reasons, and it paid off this morning. Somebody at four o'clock this morning smashed through the front of the building with a stolen vehicle, and I yelled the building is occupied and they fled,” said Stallman.

They damaged the door, but Stallman says that was it.

"Nothing was stolen,” Stallman said.

"Nationwide they happen on a pretty much daily basis,” said Jason Chudy, the public information officer for Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Seattle Field Division.

Less than two weeks ago, it happened in Monroe. At Armageddon Arms, thieves used a stolen vehicle to smash the front door.

"They got in and they took two dozen firearms,” said Chudy.

According to ATF's Federal Firearm Licensee Theft/Loss report, in Washington state in 2021, there were 27 incidents with a total of 110 firearms missing. Last year, there were 38 reports with a total of 265 firearms gone.

“In the majority of the cases when there is a gun store burglary, those firearms stay in the community,” said Chudy. “They are going to sell it for money, for drugs, for other firearms, or they are going to use those in other crimes.”

"They're not getting the weapons for anything other than criminal activity; they are not using it for anything else. And so, I think we have as gun store owners, we have a further obligation to make sure they don't fall into the wrong hands,” said Stallman.

He says that's why someone stays in his shop after closing time every night.

Right now, there are no suspect descriptions available in the Fall City case.

In Monroe, there is a $10,000 reward for information that leads to a conviction in that case. Anyone with information should contact ATF at 1-888-ATF-TIPS.

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