APD: burglaries not related

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 27, 2010

A weekend burglary at Stokes Sporting Goods and last week’s “snatch and grab” at Sanders Fine Jewelry are not related, Andalusia Chief Wilbur Williams said Friday.

Williams said sometime after 4 p.m. last Saturday and before Monday’s opening, the E. Watson Street sporting goods store was burglarized with thieves making away with 43 firearms of various makes and models.

The previous Monday, on Feb. 15,, video surveillance captured an unidentified male, who smashed a plate glass window and stole a display case filled with more than $18,000 in gold pendants – all without ever stepping foot inside the store.

Since then, police have been unable to identify those responsible for either burglary.

“These incidents have nothing to do with one another,” Williams said. “It’s two completely different ‘MO’s. I don’t know of anything that links the two other than the uniqueness of it happening here.

“These are atypical events from our normal criminal activity,” he said. “It concerns us greatly. In the Sanders incident, we have an understanding of how it occurred, but in the Stokes’ incident, thus far, we’ve have very limited information and want the general public to be watchful of those attempting to sell firearms who try to concoct a story about why the firearm doesn’t have a box or paperwork.”

In Monday’s Stokes Sporting Goods burglary, a total of 43 long guns such as rifles, as well as hand guns, – all of a variety of calibers, makes and models were taken, Williams said. “But as best we can tell no ammunition was taken,” he said.

Williams said “based on evidence” it is believed more than one person is responsible for the heist and that a vehicle was used to remove the merchandise from the scene. He said the guns were “on display” inside the store.

“Which means they weren’t in boxes; there’s no cleaning kits with them, no extra clips – none of that stuff that one would normally get if the gun was purchased from a reputable dealer,” he said. “I encourage people who come in contact with those attempting to sell a handgun or long-gun to check it out thoroughly,” he said. “If someone has purchased a gun recently through any means other than a reputable dealer, contact us so that in the event it turns out it was stolen gun, that person can potentially avoid criminal charges.”

The theft was reported to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and all serial numbers from the guns have been uploaded into the National Crime Information System (NCIC) database, he said.

Anyone with information on either burglary is asked to contact Lt. Paul Dean at 334-222-1155.