Crime and Public Safety Beat: Lithia ACE Hardware Loses 41 Weapons In Early Morning BurglaryBy Tamas Mondovics

By Tamas Mondovics

Ace Hardware located at 10415 Hwy. 39 S. in Lithia is one of the latest business burglary casualties involving the loss of firearm.

According to Hillsborough County Sheriff detectives on Friday, April 7, at approximately 3:55 a.m., unknown suspect(s) entered into the store located by snapping a chain lock with a cutter at the garden center entrance located on the north side of the business.

After smashing the glass door to the garden center, the suspects cut a second set of chain locks with a cutter which was securing the entrance.

Detectives said that there was little doubt about what the thieves wanted as once inside, the suspects proceeded to the rear of the store where the gun store is located.  

Ace hardware reported that approximately 40 handguns and one long rifle were stolen before the suspect(s) fled the scene in an unknown direction.

Anyone with any information reference the suspect is asked to call the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office at 247-8200 or anyone with any information regarding the identity and whereabouts of this suspect and who wants to be eligible for a cash reward is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS (8477), report anonymously online at www.crimestopperstb.com or send a mobile tip using our P3 Tips Mobile application, which is a free download for iPhones, iPads and Droids. You must call Crime Stoppers first to be eligible for a reward.

It is noteworthy that gun related crimes such as gun theft, robberies committed using weapons and shootings, a number of them fatal, have made more headlines in recent months than one cares to count.

“The most sought after items in vehicle burglaries are guns,” said Hillsborough County Detective and Public Information Officer, Larry McKinnon said. “There is always a market for them with a good price.” To assist in getting guns off the street, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) are offering a total reward of up to $10,000 for information.

For more information about The Sheriff’s Office, please visit www.HCSO.Tampa.fl.us.