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Handguns stolen in early-morning break-in

Police say that ‘a number’ of hanguns were stolen in a blazing-fast break-in early this morning from Home Building Centre.

The store's alarm went off at 4 a.m. this morning, and when officers arrived to the 1000-block of 18th Street, they could see that the front glass had been smashed out, but the culprits were long gone.

It was later determined that a single suspect entered the store and stole the handguns, leaving within a minute.

Police wouldn't say how many guns were taken, nor what types.

"We’re not releasing that information because in the interest of public safety, our detectives are pushing this one hard, so there is some hold back evidence," said Brandon police Sgt. Dallas Lockhart.

He said that the guns were being stored properly, and that a case had been breached by the thief.

Lockhart also said investigators were hoping to have surveillance video or stills available for the public by tomorrow.

The suspect is described as most likely male; about five-foot-nine and 160 pounds. The suspect's face was covered by a mask; he or she was wearing a white, grey or light-coloured hoody and jeans.

It's "reasonable" to think that the the thief had some sort of familiarity with the store, Lockhart said.

"That would be a reasonable conclusion to draw, for everything to happen as quickly as it had that there was some preplanning."

It's the second time that handguns have been stolen from the same business. In 2005, thieves got into a locked case and swiped three handguns.

After that theft, police released full details on all three stolen guns, including their make, model and serial number, and assured the public that they had been entered into police databases.

Another local gun dealer, Jo-Brook Firearms, has also had guns stolen. In 2012 someone broke in there and took 14 handguns. At least one of those was later recovered.

"It’s very concerning when guns are stolen during criminal activity," Lochart said. "I think it’s only logical to conclude that those guns are going to remain in the hands of criminals, which poses a threat not only to the police but to the public at large."

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