ST. LOUIS ( -- Three area gun stores were broken into in the early Friday morning hours, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

gun stores robbed

In two of those break-ins, the would-be thieves got inside the buildings but took nothing from the stores. 

David Hart, the owner of Kirkwood Outfitters in St. Charles, said the alarm at his shop went off around 3 a.m. Friday. 

"I was here in five minutes, police responded in about a minute and a half and by time they got here the people were already gone and there was three of them that did it," Hart said.

Hart said nothing was taken from his store as the guns are inside double-locked vaults and safes. 

Roughly 30 minutes later and 25 miles away, there was a break-in at Modern Weapon Systems in Fenton. Ian McFarland, the owner of the store, said the suspects came away empty-handed. 

"They broke in through the front glass. [It] took a little time to figure out they could get in through the door and then figured out we don't have anything out on display and everything's put away and secured," McFarland said. 

Around 4 a.m., ATF said someone broke through a window at the Cabela's at the Mills Mall in Hazelwood. 

This time, two guns were stolen. 

"It's a really stupid thing to do," McFarland said. "Breaking into a gun store is a good way to get killed because [officers] came in with AR 15's ready to go. They're not messing around if they see you in a gun store they're gong to shoot you dead because they think you have a gun."

Gun store burglaries have been on the increase in the past 24 months, according to the ATF. A spokesperson said while many of the suspects are eventually caught oftentimes the guns are moved quickly and make their way onto the streets before they can be recovered.

At this point, no one is in custody. 

Copyright 2019 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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