Rifles stolen through wall of Montgomery hair salon

Published: Jun. 20, 2017 at 4:34 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 20, 2017 at 4:55 PM CDT
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(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Thieves targeted an East Montgomery gun store and stole several rifles, but they went about it in a roundabout way. Someone burglarized a neighboring business and made a hole in the wall, allowing them to snatch the weapons on the other side.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Special Agent Michael P. Knight confirms the agency is investigating the crime at the Gun Shoppe, located on Bell Road.

"ATF is working with the Montgomery Police Department in terms of identifying the individual or individuals that may be responsible for the theft of approximately four firearms, in particular rifles that were stolen yesterday," Knight said.

According to Candace Bergeron, the owner of Candy's Hair Design, located right next door to the Gun Shoppe, sometime between Monday evening and 9 a.m. Tuesday morning someone broke into her salon through the front door, but they didn't stop there.

Bergeron says the suspect or suspects then busted through the walls of the salon and the adjoining gun store and reached through the opening to take the weapons. When she pulled up to open the salon on Tuesday, she found the front door hanging open and the locks destroyed. Police officers were already on the scene.

"It feels very eerie to know that somebody was in your place of business," Bergeron said. "It's a pretty scary thing to come in and find that you've been broken into."

While the thieves weren't necessarily targeting her salon, she still felt the impact of the crime. Her business was closed Tuesday for repairs and she was forced to cancel the entire day of appointments.

"Praise God that it wasn't any worse for me,"Bergeron added. "I have an alarm system. Apparently, that didn't matter. But I will be putting up cameras. I'll have cameras all through my salon, at both doors, and do the best I can. As we all know, locks only keep the honest people out."

She acknowledged that the hole was made at a very accurate spot in the walls of both businesses for the weapons to be stolen.

ATF investigators were in Montgomery on Tuesday completing an inventory of the Gun Shoppe to confirm exactly which guns were taken.

"Public safety is our main concern and that includes any of the firearms going into the commerce. Individuals that may be looking to purchase firearms through the internet or third party sales, we want them to be aware that these firearms may, in fact, be stolen," Knight said.

He indicated that law enforcement authorities are working to put together a timeline of events surrounding the incident.

"It will equate to any information of any individual or individuals that may have been in the area prior to and leading all the way up to the theft," Knight explained. "When we look at the theft of firearms, we look at not only who may be responsible for that theft but were there any other individuals that may not have been actually on scene, but were part of the group that's stealing these firearms."

Once whoever was responsible is apprehended and the firearms are recovered, charges will be up to the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office and the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Federal agents asked members of the public to come forward with information that may be posted on social media platforms or with any other details that could be pertinent to the case.

"We need the community's support in reducing violent crime," Knight stated.

Tipsters are asked to call Central Alabama CrimeStoppers, the Montgomery Police Department or the ATF.

Jose Harris, owner of Jose's Styles in the same shopping center as the Gun Shoppe and Candy's Hair Design, says this isn't the first time this has happened at that location.

"There are always crime reports from the west side about things taking place but when you come over on the east side, sometimes there aren't reports of things and everyone wants to act like everything is OK. But everything is not OK. People break in everywhere. It's sad to partially show things like all the crime is on one side. The Gun Shoppe has been hit three or four times," Harris said.

It's not clear how many people were involved in the theft or if there is surveillance footage connected to the break-in. The ATF said it's very early in the investigation.

The owner of the Gun Shoppe declined an interview.

Copyright 2017 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.