Police are trying to track down a dozen handguns that were stolen during a brazen early-morning burglary at a city firearms store.
Why the guns were taken and where they are going isn’t yet known, but police recognize the threat they could pose to public safety.
"It’s always concerning when there are known firearms that are stolen in an event like this," Brandon Police Service Const. Tanis Basaraba said.
Police were alerted to an alarm at Jo-Brook Firearms on the 900-block of 24th Street around 4:20 a.m. on Tuesday, Basaraba said.
The investigation indicates that the thieves had entered the locked store through a back door.
The guns were secured with trigger locks and locked in a pair of display cabinets that thieves somehow managed to break open, Basaraba said.
Shop staff had followed all laws when it came to securing the guns, she said.
"There’s no doubt about it that those guns were secured properly," Basaraba said, adding it isn’t known whether any matching ammo was stolen.
It appears the thieves targeted the handguns specifically, Basaraba said, as nothing else seems to have been taken.
"It seems from right now, with our preliminary investigation, that they had targeted these specific two cabinets of guns," she said.
As of Tuesday afternoon, none of the handguns had been found and there were no suspects.
Police didn’t release details about the guns, including the models and capabilities. Citing the investigation, Jo-Brook Firearms owner Travis Vandale declined comment at this time and wouldn’t describe the guns.
While there’s a black market for stolen handguns, the thieves’ intent, and where the guns are specifically headed, isn’t known at this point.
Their description and their serial numbers are available to every Canadian police agency via the Canadian Police Information Centre, Basaraba said.
Although there’s nothing to link the incidents, the burglary came just two days after shots were fired at a home on the 700-block of 10th Street.
Police continue to investigate that incident and Basaraba said they have suspects in mind, although there have been no arrests and a gun hasn’t been found.
Investigators haven’t ruled out the possibility that the shooting was gang-related.
It’s not the first time that crooks have stolen handguns from a city store.
In January 2005, three handguns were taken from a display case at a Brandon hardware store. It appeared that the culprits distracted staff and managed to get into the locked case.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 4, 2012