SEQUIM — The co-owner of FREDS Guns in Sequim is confident federal agents will arrest the person who slammed a stolen hay loader into his store and stole 20 to 30 handguns.
Seth Larson, who owns the store with his wife Rebecca, made that clear when he posted a message on social media late Monday night.
“Tick Tock! We know who you are,” he wrote. “Your days being free are soon to be OVER!”
Special agents and industry operations investigators from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) have been working with detectives from the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office to investigate the brazen theft that happened late Saturday night.
Clallam County Sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Eric Munger said Sunday that surveillance video shows a single person using the loader stolen from Leitz Farm Supply to break through the gate at the front of the store, located at 261340 U.S. Highway 101, at 11:23 p.m. Saturday.
ATF spokesperson Jason Chudy said there is little information the ATF is providing about the case at this point and that investigators are not saying whether a suspect or suspects have been identified.
“It’s still early in the investigation and it wouldn’t be appropriate for us to discuss any specific suspect or suspects,” he said.
At this time, he said, the ATF is not releasing any video or still images of the crime to the public.
Authorities said previously that 20 to 30 handguns were stolen during the theft, but Chudy said he could not say exactly how many were taken.
“There has been an increase in the number of vehicles used to smash into federal firearms licensees nationwide,” Chudy said. “[In the Pacific Northwest] we haven’t had any before FREDS Guns in the past year, but they have happened.”
Larson said Tuesday that this will not happen to FREDS Guns again. He is installing barriers that will make it difficult for anyone to drive a vehicle into his building.
“Nobody with heavy equipment can do this again,” Larson said Tuesday as crews worked to secure the building with concrete blocks. “It’s going to look like a fortress.”
FREDS Guns’ security system was at higher standards than what is required by the state and federal governments, Larson said.
He has pumped tens of thousands of dollars into a security system that he said quickly alerted authorities of the intruder and caused the burglar to make mistakes.
There were small drops of blood found inside near broken glass, investigators said previously.
“There’s DNA,” Larson said. “DNA does not lie.”
Larson said he can’t release much information about the investigation at this time, but said he has been losing sleep knowing a criminal has those stolen handguns.
He said he is feeling better knowing the progress investigators have made, but said he will be concerned while those guns are in the hands of criminals.
“I’m just praying they get them back — all of them,” Larson said.
Larson also said he forgives whoever did it and that his family is praying for the crook.
“My heart is upset because this young man’s life is ruined,” Larson said. “He made the worst decision of his life and he’s going to pay dearly for it.”
Anyone with information is urged to call the ATF firearms theft hotline at 1-888-930-9275 or email [email protected]
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].