Major gun heist in Live Oak may be connected to others, police say

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By: Fletcher Keel & Katie Kaplan | WCTV Eyewitness News
July 29, 2019

LIVE OAK, Fla. (WCTV) -- Dozens of firearms were stolen from a Live Oak gun store in an overnight burglary, said Chief Buddy Williams of the Live Oak Police Department.

The burglary happened shortly after 3 a.m. on July 14 at John's Lawn Equipment and Pro Arms on Ohio Avenue North. He said the alarm system malfunctioned, so the business was not alerted until the following day. LOPD dispersed the information to other law enforcement agencies, but kept it from the public as a strategy while the investigation began before details were released tot he public, he said.

Williams said 48 guns were stolen, including 41 hand guns and seven rifles. One was recovered in a case in a different Florida city, which has expanded the investigation to several areas throughout the state, he said.

"In my 32 years in the business, I'm not aware of anything we've had that large in Suwannee County before," he told WCTV reporter Katie Kaplan. "We are thinking they might be linked to several other gun burglaries throughout the state."

The Live Oak PD alerted the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and has teamed up with agencies throughout Florida on the investigation.

LOPD said the suspects cut the perimeter fence of the building, which allowed them to enter the gated business. Surveillance video showed the pair used a sledgehammer and putt he guns into large bags.

Authorities said the suspects were in the business for approximately three minutes before exiting and leaving the scene in a dark colored car that traveled north on US Highway 129 towards I-10.

Authorities say the identities of the suspects are unknown at this time. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Live Oak Police Department.

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