ATF: $150K worth of high-powered weapons stolen in North Texas

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by MONIKA DIAZ / WFAA

khou.com

Posted on June 18, 2012 at 8:06 AM

MURPHY, Texas — Dozens of high-powered weapons are missing in North Texas — weapons used by police, soldiers, and even organized crime.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives calls the burglary of more than $150,000 worth of guns a "high-priority" case.

Last Thursday, Mark Brown discovered that thieves had broken into his unit at Store More Self Storage in Murphy. He's not too worried about the value of the the stolen goods. "We are very paranoid about the firearms," he said. "That's our main concern — that the wrong elements will wind up with them."

More than 85 guns were taken — from sniper rifles to modified AK-47s.

Brown said he and his family have been collecting guns for more than 30 years, and planned to open a gun store.

"These are definitely not hunting weapons," he explained. "These are military collectible weapons — law enforcement-type weapons."

Brown called ATF following the theft of his rare and specialized armaments. The agency told News 8 this case is now on its high-priority list.

"We are so close to the border that it's really alarming to us," Brown said. "We wanted to get the word out as soon as we could, ask for the public's assistance to find these because of the volume of the guns."

It appears the burglars came prepared for the job, with access to security codes and shields to hide their faces from security cameras.

They covered the unit's door with oil, trying to destroy evidence. They also supplied a new lock.

"We discovered the old lock, cut off and left inside the unit," Brown said.

Investigators combed the storage unit for evidence, dusting for fingerprints. They found a couple of prints and inside, a valuable piece of DNA evidence.

"Somebody was smoking a cigarette and just happened to leave the butt inside," Brown said. "We hope that it will be a match for a criminal record and that they will be in the system and we will be able to figure out who did this."

Brown supplied the ATF with the serial numbers for the stolen weapons, and those numbers have now been entered into a database.

The storage company said it might have more information about the incident on Monday.

E-mail mdiaz@wfaa.com

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