MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A $10,000 reward is being offered for information regarding the burglary of a gun and pawn shop in Atoka, Tenn. Saturday.
At approximately 1:30 a.m., an officer with the Atoka Police Department was on route patrol in the 14000 block of Highway 51 when he saw a blue pick-up truck backed up to the South End Gun and Pawn LLC, police say.
The officer allegedly pulled into the parking lot and the truck drove off. Police say the officer chased the truck for a short while, but gave up when the chase became too erratic and dangerous.
The truck was driving at a dangerously high speed into Shelby County.
Police say at least four suspects gained access to the business by ramming the pick-up truck into the side of the building. The suspect’s vehicle is described as a blue pick-up truck, possibly a GMC, with rear-end damage.
An inventory of the business was conducted. It was determined that 169 firearms were stolen from the establishment, according to ATF.
“Had he not been doing his job and going out there and looking for any kind of criminal element, there’s no telling how many businesses they would have tried to hit,” said Atoka Police Chief Anthony Rudolph.
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Rudolph says these suspects will be held accountable for what happened.
“I’m not surprised that we’ve seen some of this, given the climate and nature of what’s going on in the regional area and the approach to that, but I can tell you the approach that they have in other places is not the approach that we have here in Atoka and Tipton Country,” he said.
Aside from catching the people responsible, Rudolph says their other top priority is to get the stolen guns off the street.
“We certainly are not so much concerned about the firearms, but if the firearm is in the wrong hands. Someone breaking into a business like that, certainly we can believe that the firearms are going in the wrong hands,” he said.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) along with the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) have announced a combined reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individuals responsible for the burglary.
Anyone with information regarding the incident or identification of the individuals involved is asked to contact ATF at 1-888-ATF-TIPS or submit information anonymously at www.Reportit.com.