VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Thieves burglarized a gun shop early Wednesday morning, Virginia Beach POlice said.
VBPD said the DOA Arms business had more than 20 guns stolen, including handguns and rifles.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) was also notified about this incident, and they are investigating with VBPD.
"Our Industry Operations Investigators responded to conduct an inventory of items stolen which is ongoing and Special Agents also responded to assist with that task as well. We are extending our available resources to VBPD to assist them with this investigation," the ATF said.
ATF and another group called the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) are offering $5,000 rewards. Virginia Beach Crime Solvers is offering $1,000, so $11,000 in rewards are possible for information leading to an arrest.
The DOA Arms is located on Reon Drive in Virginia Beach. The burglary happened at about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to police.
"I hope they find these stolen guns because God knows whose hands they're going to fall into. We don't want those guns involved in any future crimes, so I hope they find the perpetrators quickly and recover the weapons," said Rick James, a crime analyst and former Norfolk Police Detective.
James tells News 3 the guns would have been federally registered, so if they are used in any future crimes investigators will know they were stolen here.
Stolen guns can pose a danger to the community.
"The most dangerous encounter that a police officer is going to have is with a suspect with a stolen firearm. That is very dangerous," said James.
The latest ATF data shows that in the first half of 2021 there were more than 100 burglaries at gun dealers and nearly 1,000 guns were stolen nationwide. Those numbers are actually lower compared to 2019 and 2020.
In this latest case, investigators have released surveillance images of vehicles that may have been involved.
NSSF said they are offering their reward because "we know that the criminals targeting firearms retailers to steal guns are looking to use those illegally-obtained firearms to further victimize communities."
The owner of DOA Arms declined to do an interview with News 3.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP (1-888-562-5887).