15 indicted after allegedly stealing 41 guns from local store

SELMA, AL (WSFA) - $30, 000 dollars worth of guns stolen from a Selma business. The burglary happened five months ago at the Central Alabama Farmer's Co-Op on Highway 80.

Federal officials announced indictments for 15 suspects allegedly involved in the crime.  It's good news for store workers anxious to crack the case.

Manager Tim Wood says thanks to surveillance video, he knows just what happened in his store on the night of May 22nd.

"At one time there were 6 people behind the counter grabbing guns, stealing guns. Everything ranging from pistols, shotguns, long guns," says Wood.

When he realized the burglars got away with 41 weapons?

"It's a nauseating feeling when you think that on the streets you've got guns that people have gotten illegally and could possibly be using them in crimes."

Thanks to a joint investigation by the federal state and local authorities - the U.S. Attorney in Mobile announced 15 suspects were recently arrested and now face federal gun theft charges.

Police say five juveniles who were not indicted were arrested and turned over to the state for prosecution.

"Assuming they get found guilty, they could end up going somewhere like the department of youth services or detention," says 4th Judicial Circuit District Attorney Michael Jackson.

"Hopefully these indictments, arrests, and the recovery of 19 out of those 41 firearms will go a long way towards making this community a safer and more peaceable place to live," says U.S. Southern District Attorney Kenyen Brown.

Most of the suspects are still behind bars.  Efforts continue to track down more weapons and other people involved.

"Get em off the streets.  That's what we're most concerned about," says Wood.

While he admits he may have lost a few night's sleep over the incident, Wood says the burglary actually prompted him to reevaluate security measures at the store.

"We're watching everybody that comes in. If you get your picture taken by a hidden camera, we just want to have a friendly face protectin' ya," he says.

Authorities believe the defendants were stealing the guns to sell them. If convicted they could face 10 years in prison and a $250,000 dollar fine.

Copyright 2011 WSFA. All rights reserved.