D’IBERVILLE — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has offered a $5,000 reward to solve break-ins at South Mississippi gun stores.
About two dozen handguns were taken Friday night from stores in D’Iberville and Gautier and a break-in was attempted at an Ocean Springs store, said Joel Lee, resident agent in charge of the ATF’s Gulfport office.
Surveillance videos from a smash-and-grab at Cook’s Gun Store in D’Iberville show a burglar with a plan. The unidentified man rammed his way through the door with his pickup truck, grabbed nine handguns and was out within 34 seconds.
“We view it as a brazen attack on our business community,” Lee said in a news conference Wednesday at the D’Iberville City Hall. Handguns have fallen into the hands of someone who apparently can’t get them legally, he added.
“We have numerous safety concerns,” Lee said. “The biggest is firearms could fall into the hands of the criminal element.”
Authorities suspect the man planned the break-ins and rammed his truck into three businesses in 1½ hours. He struck at Highway 90 Pawn and Gun in Gautier about 6:56 p.m., then went to Jerry’s Shootin’ Irons & Pawn in Ocean Springs. The door at Jerry’s didn’t budge.
“The store had been hit in 2002 so the owner reinforced the building with brick and steel,” Ocean Springs police Capt. William Jackson said.
Security videos from Cook’s Gun Shop in D’Iberville show the burglar covered his face and wore gloves when he broke in about 8:29 p.m.
One video shows him…