ARARAT, Va. — A recent burglary at an Ararat gun shop is the focus of an investigation not only by local authorities but a federal firearms agency.
This includes rewards of up to $5,000 being offered by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (a potential sum of $2,500) for information about the crime in conjunction with up to $2,500 from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).
The ATF and NSSF are seeking details that will aid the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the burglary of Rabbit Ridge Gun Shop at 1251 Rabbit Ridge Road on Sept. 22.
About 3:15 a.m. on that date, two masked individuals burglarized the store, which also goes by the name of Rabbit Ridge Enterprises.
Surveillance images show the pair stealing guns and other merchandise.
The suspects remain unknown at this time, and Patrick County Sheriff Dan Smith is urging anyone with information about the case to come forward.
Investigative efforts by the Patrick County Sheriff’s Office are gaining extra clout from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
“ATF will collaborate with our partners by offering our investigative and analytical resources to ensure that the stolen firearms are recovered,” explained Christopher Amon, acting special agent in charge of its Washington Field Division.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is the lead federal law enforcement agency with jurisdiction involving guns and violent crimes and regulates the firearms industry.
“ATF’s Crime Gun Intelligence Center will extend the resources needed to apprehend the individuals responsible for this criminal act,” Amon added.
“We call upon community members to provide any information that will assist us in locating and holding all involved accountable for this crime before they are used in a crime of violence.”
Besides the scope of the theft, Sheriff Smith pointed to a extra element involved.
“Our gun stores are the epitome of the American experience,” he said in a statement released Tuesday.
“They are the place where everyday citizens go to exercise their constitutional right to bear arms, and they shall be protected,” he vowed.
Anyone with information about the crime in Ararat can contact ATF at 888-ATF-TIPS (888-283-8477), the Patrick County Sheriff’s Office at 276-222-0460 or 911 if one of both of the suspects’ location is immediately known.
Information may also be sent to ATFTips@atf.gov, through ATF’s website at www.atf.gov/contact/atftips. Tips can be submitted anonymously using the Reportit® app or P3Tips app, available from both Google Play and the Apple App store, or by visiting www.reportit.com or P3tips.com/
A complete liquidation online auction for Rabbit Ridge has been under way in recent days listing items for sale such as ammunition, magazines, reloading supplies, gun accessories and knives.
It is being conducted by Matthews Auctioneers in Galax.