Burglars steal 70 guns from Eastlake shop

Burglars steal 70 guns from Eastlake shop

EASTLAKE, OH (WOIO) - Seventy guns stolen from a gun shop in Eastlake are now in the hands of criminals on the streets. Investigators said the sooner they track the guns down, the safer everyone is.

"Every week somebody's getting shot because of guns on the street. We've got 14-year-old's carrying guns. They're coming from somewhere. We don't know," said Gerald Hawley, who lives in the area.

Hawley is sick of seeing the violence.

"It's hard, it's very hard. I don't know what the answer is, but it's very hard," he said.

Crimes make it even more difficult to stop. Investigators are trying to track down about 70 guns stolen from Sherwin Shooting Sports on Vine Street.

Cleveland 19 News stopped by the gun shop to try to talk to the owner, but the sign on the front door Friday said they're closed for inventory.

"Clearly these firearms are destined for people who are going to put them to bad purposes," said Suzanne Dabkowski, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives public information officer.

Thieves broke in around 3 a.m. Thursday, stealing about 60 handguns and 10 long guns. Investigators have been working around the clock ever since.

"Usually these firearms are used to commit other violent crimes," Dabkowski said.

She also said stolen guns are often sold illegally on the streets or traded for drugs.

"It worries me whose hands they're going to go into," said Annie Barowski.

Barowski works just doors down from Sherwin Shooting Sports. She said the neighborhood has changed over the years. The news of the burglary made her a bit nervous.

"The thought of all those guns out there is a little scary. We upped our security, unfortunately we have to," Barowski said.

Eastlake police said they recovered several of the stolen guns in Cleveland Thursday evening. There are several suspects in custody, but the investigation is still underway.

ATF is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible. The reward will be matched by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, for a total reward of up to $10,000.

Anyone who has information should contact ATF at 1-800-283-4867. Tips can also be emailed to ATFTips@atf.gov.

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