Smash-N-Grab Burglars Hit Gun Store

Lakeland police are searching for suspects involved in a smash-n-grab type burglary at Rapture Guns and Knives gun store in Lakeland.

At about 1:42 a.m. Monday morning, Polk County Sheriff’s Office received an alarm activated at the store located at 8216 US Why 98 N.

According to surveillance video, the suspects sued a tool to disable the lock on the front door. Once inside they smashed the front glass case and stuffed numerous firearms into large bags. They left the scene in an unknown vehicle heading south on US Hwy 98.

Though the alarm was activated at the time of the break-in, it took several minutes for the notification from the alarm company to reach law enforcement.

ABC Action News reached out to the store owner’s father, Ben Pollock. He apologized to the community, but didn’t admit fault for the lapse in security.

When the news station asked Pollock if the store was responsible for 40 illegal guns now being out on the streets, “That’s an ethical question, I’m going to let God decide that.”

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd issued a statement obtained by ABC Action News.

“Alarm systems alone are not adequate deterrents, or adequate security, at gun stores. We’ve reached out to all of the gun store owners in the county and discussed the importance of having robust security systems in place. In fact, on December 13, 2016, our detectives went to the Rapture Guns and Knives store, and spoke with the owner about installing security features at his business. He told our detectives that safes are too expensive’ and they’ll just cut the cables’ if he installed those. Gun store owners have a moral and ethical obligation to do everything they can to prevent guns from getting into the hands of criminals.” 

Rapture Guns and Knives store is now pledging to have an armed guard on site after business hours so there is someone there 24/7.

Anyone with information on the suspects or their whereabouts is urged to contact the Polk County Sheriff’s Office or Heartland Crime Stoppers.