Around 2 a.m. April 9, a bright blue Toyota Tundra blasted through the front of Sunshine State Armory, a gun store in Zephyrhills, Fla. After the truck's dramatic entrance, which was caught on the store's surveillance cameras, three dudes rushed in and looted the place. One guy went to work on the display cases with a hammer, while another scooped pistols and ammo into a large sack. The third loaded up as many long guns as he could carry. The whole incident, from the moment the truck hit the building to when the last crook ran out of the store, took less than a minute.
A WFLA reporter asked Zephyrhills Police Capt. Derek Brewer if the break-in at Sunshine State Armory was related to a string of other similar crimes that has plagued the Tampa Bay Area recently – one in Inverness, one in Tampa, and one in Lakeland.
"We don't know that," said Brewer. "It certainly does seem to fit the M.O. to several of those."
Neighbors of the gun store were shocked that such a crime could happen in their community, and expressed concerns about the stolen weapons.
"They're smashing and grabbing guns. What are the gonna do with the guns? And where are they gonna do it?" asked Sandie Mcilwaine.
"I can't believe that happened like right where we usually go to eat. You never think it's gonna happen," said Liberty Hagan.
The Toyota, which turned out to be stolen, was found later burned to the ground along some nearby railroad track. Zephyrhills PD is offering a $2,500 reward for information.