HOUSTON – Police are investigating a smash and grab burglary at a Carter's Country gun shop in in southwest Houston overnight.
Employees the store on Wilcrest near the Southwest Freeway were still cleaning up Tuesday afternoon nearly 12 hours after the crime.
"I'm very shocked, and I'm very stunned this could happen to these people," said Robert Sarabia, a customer of the store, who said he stopped by Tuesday morning concerned after seeing the police presence. "You wouldn't think this could happen in our neighborhood. I live right across the way. I've heard of nothing like this before."
Police say just after 4:30 a.m. Tuesday, at least four suspects used a black ford F-150 extended cab with chains to break the bars on the front of the store, smash through the glass, and make off with several weapons.
"These types of crimes are becoming more prevalent in the Houston area," said Robert Elder, Special Agent in Charge with the ATF Houston Field Division.
Elder, whose agency is investigating this case alongside HPD, says guns stolen in cases like this one could potentially be used in much more violent crimes like robbery, drive-by shootings, and murder.
"Typically the groups that are stealing these will sell them for a profit, and they will a lot of times be sold to other criminals in the area and in surrounding areas," said Elder. "It's a source of guns. It's a black market source of guns for the criminal element."
Both the ATF and police are reviewing surveillance cameras inside and outside the store, while customers hope those responsible end up behind bars soon.
Police are asking anyone with information to call CrimeStoppers at (713) 222-TIPS. Information can be reported anonymously.