Three suspects who allegedly attempted rob multiple gun shops and sell the stolen firearms elsewhere have been arrested, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
Around 2:59 a.m. on July 27, three men and one unknown suspect in a black Jaguar tried to break into the Aegis Tactical gun shop in the 5100 block of Lena Road. The suspects wore black masks as they shot through the front door, shattering the glass, but couldn’t get in. They tried smashing through the locks at the rear, as well.
Deputies say the suspects weren’t able to steal anything from the store but they believe the same group of people is responsible for a recent robbery at ASAP Gun and Pawn, according to a news release. The same vehicle was used in that attempt, according to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigators who took over the case.
On Aug. 2, investigators were able to make contact with 17-year-old Trafton Williams, who owns the car and reportedly admitted to being involved in both burglary attempts. ATF investigators say Williams was able to direct them to one of the houses the suspects sold stolen guns to and the home of another suspect in the case, 18-year-old Brooks Kinder.
Search warrants were conducted at both homes the next day, revealing a stolen handgun and a stolen rifle at Kinder’s residence and a stolen handgun at the other. Kinder was taken to the St. Petersburg Police Department for an interview.
Detectives say he also admitted to being involved in both robberies and that he acted as the shooter both times. Kinder was arrested on charges in Manatee and Pinellas, according to a release. He is charged with two counts of armed burglary, two counts of discharging firearms and two counts of possession of a stolen firearm.
A third suspect, Dalton Pope, 18, was arrested from his home Monday. Williams turned himself in to the Manatee County Jail Friday, deputies said.
Pope is charged with criminal mischief and armed burglary. He is being held on bond totaling $20,000. Williams is charged with two counts of armed burglary and is being held on bond totaling $40,000.
The investigation is ongoing.