The five AR-15 assault rifles stolen from a Clayton gun shop were in a secure room, police said.
The thief or thieves used a brick to bust out a front window of Trigger Happy Guns on Main Street and then broke into an interior room where the guns were stored, police said. Taken were two Palmetto State Armory rifles, two Anderson rifles and one rifle made by Rock River Arms.
Officers from the Clayton Police Department were dispatched just before 4:30 a.m. Nov. 23, the day before Thanksgiving, finding the front window smashed and the five rifles missing.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has taken the lead on the investigation, town spokeswoman Stacy Beard said, but Clayton police remain active pursuing local leads.
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Officials said the gun shop has security and surveillance systems, but no images of the theft have been released. Gun shop owner Nick Deluca declined comment, saying he had been advised not to talk about the break-in.
Clayton planning director David DeYoung said the town treats gun shops the same as any other retail store. But when Trigger Happy first applied to move in on Main Street, he and former town manager Steve Biggs were concerned about the appearance of barred windows on a downtown shop. The plan approved by the town keeps bars off of Trigger Happy’s windows, but the store operates with three distinct rooms. The front of the store features gun accessories, an interior room keeps the guns secured, and a third room is where maintenance and cleaning take place.
Police haven’t released any details as to how the thief or thieves got into the gun room or if they have any suspects. They have asked for the public’s help, specifically from anyone who might have seen something that Wednesday morning. To offer information, call Clayton Crimestoppers at 919-359-8479 or the ATF hotline at 1-800-283-4867.