HOUSTON (KTRK) --A smash and grab crew of thieves emptied display cases and a wall of rifles Tuesday morning at Carter's Country. Now the ATF says some of the suspects have been identified and arrested.
Houston police say as many as 10 suspects raided the store and got away with at least 50 weapons. The amount of weapons is not counting those they dropped in their haste to get out before police arrived.
Jeff McShan, a spokesman with the Harris County District Attorney's Office and Crime Stoppers, says three of the suspects have been arrested. One of them has been identified as Anthony Cannon. Authorities say he appeared before a judge early Thursday morning and was expected to be transferred to federal authorities.
ATF sources confirm they have good leads on the remaining suspects and they're following up on them.
A spokesperson with the ATF tells Eyewitness News some of the stolen weapons also have been recovered but did not provide an exact number.
The store, located on South Wilcrest, was burglarized around 4:30am. Total time for the burglary was about two minutes.
A large pickup truck rammed a plate glass window. A chain was used to pull out burglar bars.
Upon entering the building, they ransacked the store causing extensive damage to the property. The suspects used a hammer to break the glass cases that stored the handgun and took several rifles off the rack. The suspects left this location with the firearms and exchanged vehicles approximately one block away. The suspect fled the second location in an unknown direction of travel, in a possible late model Chevrolet Traverse SUV.
Video surveillance cameras captured images of the suspects wearing a variety of different clothing including hooded sweatshirt, masks and gloves to conceal their identities.
We showed the full video to another gun range owner and expert, Dave Gardner.
"These guys are pros. They've done it before," Gardner says within a few seconds of watching the video.
Gardner would know. His shooting center, Top Gun, has been burglarized a few times in the past year.
"I think they come in with a plan," Gardner says. "They generally look for things that are sellable on the street, things that are used most common in crimes. They're looking for semi-automatic, straightforward pistols, generally."
The burglars spend about two minutes inside, ripping rifles off the wall, breaking glass cases, and stuffing small guns in bags. Surveillance cameras don't seem to scare any of them.
"We need 24-hour security here," says a guard who works nearby.
No one patrols the area at night and he thinks that's a problem.
"I take care of the daytime, but we need nighttime security," the man says.
Gardner disagrees, saying more manpower isn't the answer, that criminals will go to every effort to break-in and steal what they want.
As police continue investigating, Gardner plans to reach out to the owners of Carter's Country. He's looking for a list of the guns stolen and the serial numbers.
"We are going to reach out to them and discuss security postures, things that we do, things that they do. We always try and share some best practices and lessons learned."
But for now, there's three down and seven to go.
Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for information leading to the charging and/or arrest of the suspect in this case. Information may be reported by calling 713-222-TIPS (8477) or submitted online at www.crime-stoppers.org. Tips may also be sent via a text message by texting the following: TIP610 plus the information to CRIMES (274637) or via the mobile app (Crime Stoppers Houston). All tipsters remain anonymous.