CONCORD, N.C. — Authorities are working to track down more than a dozen stolen weapons after thieves broke into two gun shops Tuesday morning and raided them.
Security footage from inside Aim and Defend in Lowell showed two people kicking in the the front glass door, bending the security bars and running into the shop.
In a matter of seconds, the store's owner said they stole ammunition, magazines, two pistols and a rifle.
Repent Arms in Concord was also targeted.
Officers said that around 2:30 a.m., someone drove a black GMC Sierra into the gun store along Union Street South. Authorities said the truck was stolen out of Charlotte. The crash sounded the security alarm inside the gun shop, as well as the truck's On-Star system.
"They were all wearing dark hoodies, gloves and masks," Dave Elizondo said, whose family owns the shop.
Elizondo said the thieves stole a rifle and about a dozen handguns. Surveillance video has been turned over to authorities in the hopes that it will lead to an arrest.
Elizondo fears the thieves would have stolen more had the alarm system not sounded and had they not put the majority of their weapons in a safe.
The crimes come during heightened tension and unrest in Charlotte.
"We started taking extra precautions last week during the riots down in Charlotte," Elizondo said.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department agreed that even more security precautions should be taken following the protests in Charlotte. A majority of protests have remained peaceful, but some led to the looting of stores.
"With what's going on across Charlotte right now, tensions are very high," Charlotte-Mecklenburg Officer Johnathan Frisk said. "When people get into any of these types of businesses where there are a large number of weapons and they get out, it can become very dangerous for police and people across Mecklenburg County."
Officer Frisk said the department is stepping up patrols in areas where gun shops were targeted.
In the past month, crimes like this have been increasing in the area.
Earlier this month, suspects crashed a Dodge Ram truck through the back of The Arms Room gun shop in Charlotte.
The suspect ran inside, but the shop owner put all the guns away.
That truck was originally stolen from a south Charlotte neighborhood.
In a different case, suspects drove a large SUV into J.J. Aim Right gun shop in Fort Mill.
Later, a truck was driven into the Cash America building off Albemarle Road, which sells firearms.
Another gun store off South Boulevard was also broke into.
So far this year, police said 420 guns have been stolen in Charlotte, and police believe many of the cases could be connected to larger crimes.
Officer Frisk suggests gun shops place pillars around their store to prevent vehicles from being able to driver through the building.
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