Gun store thefts becoming the latest growing trend in Houston

For James Hillin, enough is enough.

“(It’s) very frustrating,” he told local media. “You don’t get no sleep.”

For the second time in two days and the 22nd in six years, someone tried stealing from his Full Armor Firearms store off the Katy Freeway.

“It’s scary,” Hillin said. “It’s scary, you know. We don’t want guns being in criminal’s hands.”

Again, the thieves got away with nothing. Every night the store locks up all of its inventory.

“We take all of the guns,” explained Hillin. “It takes us 30 to 45 minutes, and then every morning we bring them out of a vault. The vault is sealed.”

But this time, his security staffer caught them in the act and opened fire with two weapons. The would-be thieves drove off and crashed a mile away.

Police saw the bullet-riddled vehicle come to a stop.

“When they got up to the vehicle they noted that there were several gunshot holes in the vehicle,” said Houston Police Lieutenant Larry Crowson. “Also there were three people, three males shot inside the vehicle.”

Also Monday night in Humble, thieves stole three weapons from a gun store there. And that’s not all they took.

“They also stole three vests,” said Humble police Lieutenant Mike Nansel, “police style vests, and we let other agencies know that that was part of the burglary.”

These crimes are part of a growing trend. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms in 2016, nearly 9,300 guns were stolen from licensed dealers. Ten percent were in Texas. And in just the last 12 in Houston, gun store thefts and robberies are up 39 percent.

The ATF doesn’t have a definitive explanation for the increase, but the bureau in Houston has a special team tasked with targeting that trend.

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