Numerous guns were stolen during a smash-and-grab burglary early Monday at a Lakeland gun store, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
The break-in happened at 1:42 a.m. at Rapture Gun and Knives, 8216 U.S. Highway 98 N., Lakeland, according to a news release.
The investigation revealed that at 1:33 a.m., the suspects, as seen on video surveillance, used a tool to dismantle the front door lock, then entered the store and used a hammer and their feet and hands to smash the front glass case,” the release states. “Both suspects stuffed numerous firearms into large bags and then fled the scene at just before 1:35 a.m. in an unknown make or model car, heading south on U.S. Highway 98.”
The intruders activated an alarm, but several minutes passed before the sheriff’s office was notified and deputies did not receive the call for service until after the suspects had fled, according to the sheriff’s office.
Sheriff Grady Judd said deputies had visited the store on Dec. 13 and suggested the owner install additional security features at his business.
“He told our detectives that safes are too expensive' and they'll just cut the cables' if he installed those,” Judd said. “Gun store owners have a moral and ethical obligation to do everything they can to prevent guns from getting into the hands of criminals."