Stores install barriers after robberies at gun shops, dispensaries

Published: Sep. 15, 2022 at 10:17 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- Local gun shops and dispensaries are now installing concrete barriers at the entrance of their stores to prevent thieves from coming in.

Owners are scrambling to protect their livelihoods after criminals used stolen cars to barge their way inside during a series of smash and grab robberies.

“Don’t try it here because you ain’t getting in,” says Curt Smith’s Outdoors Manager Thomas Petrekovich.

Concrete blocks are at the front door of the shop in Belleville. Petrekovich saw the aftermath of thieves crashing their way inside of gun shops nearby and called the police chief for assistance.

“I just thought to myself If they got into that building mine is just as easy to get done as well,” he says. “So that’s why I requested those walls be put up.”

Twenty-four hours later the blocks were installed outside the front door.

“I don’t want a car coming in here,” Petrekovich says. “I’d say they’re probably 2000 pounds apiece.”

The city of Belleville is also putting up more barriers around the corner from the shop at the Metro East Shooting Supplies store to keep criminals out.

Dispensaries in south St. Louis City can also be seen with an added layer of security.

Recent smash and grab robberies happened twice in one week at Academy Sports in St. Peters.

Burglars used a stolen car to get in and the thieves’ attempts to shoot their way to the gun case failed because it was bulletproof.

“Don’t come to Belleville. Don’t bring that over here,” says resident Karl Gilpin.

“Enough damage can be done where you might have to have reconstruction and shut you down. Then there’s loss of income while you’re closed,” says Petrekovic. “Then there’s the cost of the guns that’s gone. No telling how much the value of that is.”

Another smash and grab robbery happened in Wright City in Warren County.

Surveillance video shows guns being stolen in minutes.

Police have still not arrested all the suspects in the smash and grab robberies. Anyone with information should call the St Peter’s Police Department at 636-278-2222 or Wright City police at 636-745-3541.