GLOUCESTER, Va. - A windowless building, a reinforced doorway, extra security measures, but police say none of it stopped someone from stealing over 40 guns from a Gloucester business early Sunday morning.
“You kind of get a sinking feeling in your stomach,” said the owner Paul Decker, when he found out about the burglary.
Decker has owned Hunter’s Heaven for 35 years, and he says he has been burglarized five or six times now.
“They don’t think about the personal effect of it,” said Decker of the suspects. “A lot of times as Americans, we think of corporations and businesses as faceless entities. You’re really not hurting anybody.
“But when you go to a small business that is privately owned, you are not only affecting the owner, but his family and his employees, and it is a real personal thing.”
Police say about $20,000 worth of guns were stolen, and Decker says it will take him a year to recover from that kind of loss.
“You’ve got to work for the next year for nothing,” said Decker. “That is kind of a hard thing to swallow.”
Decker says insurance companies won’t insure his gun business for theft, so that $20,000 comes out of his pocket.
Despite the helpless feeling of being burglarized, Decker says he still has his faith in God.
“God’s in charge,” said Decker. “One of my favorite versus that I apply to my life is one that says, ‘Vengeance is mine. I will repay, sayeth the Lord.’…That really keeps me going.”
Deputies are searching for suspect leads, and released photos of two unique firearms - a Remington 700 .30-06 Dale Earnhardt Jr. commemorative edition rife and a Magnum Research BFR .500 Smith and Wesson. Police hope by releasing the photos, someone may recognize the guns and call them in.
If you know something, you could earn up to $7,000 cash. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is offering a reward of up to $3,000 if an anonymous tip leads to an arrest. The National Shooting Sports Foundation has agreed to match that reward, and Crime Stoppers will give up to $1,000 for anonymous tips that help solve the crime.
If the public has any information, please call the ATF confidential tip line at 1-888-ATF-TIPS (238-8477), or Crime Stoppers at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.