About 70 guns, including such deadly weapons as the "Street Sweeper" revolving shotgun and semiautomatic pistols and rifles, have been stolen from a Wheaton gun shop by burglars who entered through the roof of a nearby restaurant and knocked out walls in two adjoining businesses, Montgomery County police said yesterday.
The theft, discovered by an adjacent shopowner Thursday, was a "professional job," said Sgt. Harry Geehreng, a police spokesman. Police believe the burglary at the Guns Unlimited store in the 2300 block of Price Avenue occurred between 11 p.m. Wednesday and 8 a.m. Thursday.
Geehreng said police have no suspects. The burglars deactivated the gun shop's alarm system, police said.
The stolen guns, valued at more than $40,000, included some "heavy-duty" fully automatic weapons and 14 Smith & Wesson revolvers, Geehreng said. Among the missing weapons, which sell from $225 to $3,000 apiece, were a Colt "King Cobra" .357 magnum, Colt AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, 9mm submachine guns, a Remington pump shotgun and an Iver Johnson "Enforcer" .30-caliber machine pistol, police said.
Geehreng said the sophisticated weapons, which have serial numbers encoded on them, probably will end up in the wrong hands. "Drug dealers will pay for this stuff. Most of these kinds of weapons are recovered in the hands of thieves and crooks."
In addition to the stolen weapons, police said the burglars also stole ammunition, clips and binoculars from the gun shop.
The shop's owner, who declined to give his name, said the two-year-old store caters primarily to gun collectors. He said about one-third of his inventory had been stolen in the burglary.
Police said the burglars removed a vent cover on the roof of the China Hunan restaurant and then punched holes through the drywall separating the restaurant and the House of Nefertiti antique shop. Once inside the antique store, the burglars broke through the adjoining wall into the gun shop.
Authorities said nothing was stolen from the restaurant or the antique shop.