SEQUIM — The reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for smashing a hay loader through the front of FREDS Guns and stealing about 30 handguns April 13 has tripled to $15,000.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the National Shooting Sports Foundation announced a reward Tuesday for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the theft.
ATF is offering a reward of up to $5,000, matched by the NSSF for a possible reward of up to $10,000. Seth Larson, the owner of FREDS Guns in Sequim, said last week that he was offering a $5,000 reward for information. He was not reached by phone Tuesday afternoon.
“Most likely the firearms that were taken are still there in the community and these firearms pose a risk to the community at large,” said Jason Chudy, ATF spokesperson.
“They were taken in a criminal act and they will possibly be used in more criminal acts. The faster we get these firearms off the street, the safer the community will be.”
Officials have said surveillance video shows a single person using the loader stolen from Leitz Farm Supply to break through the front of FREDS Guns.
That person then went inside, broke a glass gun case and loaded a duffel bag with about 30 handguns.
Investigators have not publicly identified any suspects in the case and have not released security footage of the theft.
The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office and ATF are investigating the burglary.
“We always know there’s persons in our community that have information that’s unknown to us,” said Clallam County Sheriff’s Chief Criminal Deputy Brian King. “We hope this reward will provide motivation for those persons to come forward and help us.”
The ATF also is investigating a theft from a gun store in Kitsap County that happened early Monday.
Three people are believed to have forced their way into Boerner Firearms in Gorst and stolen an undetermined number of weapons.
The ATF is investigating the two thefts separately.
Anyone with information about the person or people responsible and/or information leading to the recovery of the stolen firearms should contact ATF at 1-888-283-8477 email ATFTips@atf.gov, or contact ATF through its website at www.atf.gov/ contact/atftips.
Tips may also be submitted to ATF using the ReportIt app, available on both Google Play and the Apple App Store, or by visiting www.reportit.com.
All calls and tips will be kept confidential.
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at jmajor@peninsula dailynews.com.