BRANDON -- Police are on high alert after a masked intruder broke into a Brandon hardware store and stole handguns.
Just before 4 a.m. Monday, the business alarm at Home Hardware Building Centre alerted police of a break and enter. Upon arrival, police found the store's front glass had been smashed and the culprit had already fled the scene.
Sgt. Dallas Lockhart said an investigation revealed a single thief entered the store, stole the guns and left within one minute.
It's "reasonable" to think 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."
Police wouldn't say how many guns were taken, what types or the value of the stolen firearms.
"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," Lockhart said.
He said the guns were being stored properly, and the case was breached by the intruder.
Lockhart also said investigators were hoping to have surveillance video or stills available for the public by today.
The thief is described as most likely male, about 5-9 and 160 pounds. The thief's face was covered by a mask and he or she was wearing a white, grey or light-coloured hoody and jeans.
"It's very concerning when guns are stolen during criminal activity. 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," Lockhart said.
The only legal use for the handguns is target shooting, as handguns cannot be used for the purpose of hunting in Canada, Lockhart said. Restricted weapons can legally be used for target shooting by licensed gun owners.
-- Brandon Sun