KENTWOOD, Mich. - A multi-jurisdictional investigation into a series of gun store break-ins continues on a nationwide front, including federal attention to a number of thefts in West Michigan.
In September, several gun shops in the Grand Rapids area were broken into, with more than a dozen guns stolen.
In October, a second set of break-ins happened, including an attempt break-in at Dunham's and a successful break-in at Family Farm and Home in Cedar Springs. The case is still open and on-going, with more than 70 firearms still on the streets.
Several organizations including Silent Observer, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Fire Arms (ATF) and the National Shooting Sports Foundation have stepped up and offered money as a reward to help with the investigating and prosecution of the subjects involved in the October break-in's totaling to $7,500 all together.
Mr Gun Dealer owner Eric Haddad in Kentwood is taking extra precautions to keep firearms and equipment out of the wrong hands, including installing massive concrete pillars in front of windows to barricade the building and keep thieves away.
"They [pillars] are solid steel inside, reinforced by concrete on the outside," said Haddad. "It would be difficult to drive an army tank through these things.”
Haddad said he's been called a paranoid person all his life, but when it comes to his gun shop, he'll do anything to protect his employees and the community.
“We’ve got a state of the art alarm system that would give Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible a hard time to get into," said Haddad. "Motion sensors everywhere.”
Haddad said the store is covered with cameras. “Both night time and during the day.”
The Mr Gun Dealer gun shop has a security gate inside made of solid steel to prevent smash and grabs.
Kent County Sheriff's Office would recommend gun shop owners to consider an audible alarm system. "If you can have an audible alarm, that makes a whole lot of noise inside and outside, no one is going to spend a lot of time in that store," said Sgt. Joel Roon, Kent County Sheriff’s Office.
Haddad said he also believes in the safety of his employees. It's important they're armed while on the clock.
"We also have high-powered AR-15 combat rifles that are secured," said Haddad. "Only Mr Gun Dealer personnel have access to them, but that protects us if something should go down here during the day, it would be very difficult for us not to have the advantage.”
Haddad said he did a lot of research when he choose his security equipment, including reaching out to the Kent County Sheriff's Office, East Lansing SWAT team and Secret Service agents to get opinions and advice to help keep his business safe.
Anyone with information on these break ins is asked to call any of the following: Kent County Sheriff's Department at 616-632-6236, ATF at 800-ATF-GUNS, Silent Observer at 866-774-2345.