Lax Gun Shop Security - An Ongoing Threat To Public Safety?
As the dead are being buried in and around Newtown, Connecticut following the Sandy Hook school massacre, investigators are poring over every detail and lead to try and figure out why the gunman did what he did. They’re also tracing back where and how the gunman’s mother, Nancy Lanza, came into possession of the firearms.
Well, that angle of the investigation has opened up a whole can of worms. While Lanza purchased the guns lawfully, it appears that the gun shop where she purchased the guns has some serious security problems and inventory control issues. In fact, the gun store has seen multiple thefts and couldn’t account for all of its inventory.
But scariest of all, the inventory problems and thefts didn’t get reported by the store. It took police investigators to tell the store that they had been robbed on multiple occasions.
Oh, and it’s the same store that had sold the gun used in the Sandy Hook massacre.
Adam Lanza had two pistols and the AR-15 when he entered Sandy Hook Elementary School Friday morning, and in just a matter of minutes, he fired multiple rounds, killing 20 children and six adults. Before the school shooting, he shot his mother four times.
Riverview Gun Sales is the same store where police believe a different man stole an assault weapon and was trying to carry out a similar attack.
In a video obtained by Eyewitness News, Jordan Marsh, 26, of South Windsor, can be seen stealing an AR-15 with a scope just four days earlier.
Marsh was caught stealing a 50-caliber long gun from the Riverview Gun Sales on Saturday. Police found the AR-15 in a duffel bag in a room at the Hartford Hilton that day.
“It’s scary, I mean I got three kids,” said Sharon Hodge of South Windsor, who spoke with Eyewitness News.
For the past two years, she has opened her home to Marsh, who is her boyfriend’s son.
Marsh, who Hodge said suffers from schizophrenia as well as other mental issues, was off his medication when he was arrested Saturday.
“It’s unbelievable,” Hodge said after seeing the story on WFSB.
Police said Riverview Gun Sales had no idea the AR-15 Marsh stole was missing. Management at the store didn’t know about 11 guns that Marsh had allegedly stolen last year until they were notified by detectives.
Inventory control issues at Riverview Gun Sales have occurred before. In 2007, state police raided a Somers home and found a bunch of stolen guns from the store.
“It was found that the same Riverview gun store was missing upwards of 30-plus guns,” said East Windsor police Detective Matthew Carl.
Apparently this gun shop has no clue about its inventory - they only learned of the stolen guns after police told them of the thefts. That’s quite troubling considering that the stores have a financial incentive to make sure that they’ve got all the weapons they should have.
Here’s what I don’t get though, there’s video purportedly showing the thefts, but the store didn’t know they had occurred? Was this BATF or local LEOs who had their own cameras installed, or was this further incompetency by the store to not actually view/review security video. Something smells.
As to the person who stole the guns, he has mental health issues, and yet was able to not only steal the same weapon that was used in the Newtown massacre (an AR-15), but also a .50 cal long gun.
If gun shops have such lackluster security, do we expect anyone else to do better?
More details about the ongoing investigations at Riverview Gun, including background:
Seifert said Thursday that neither Nancy nor Adam Lanza are believed to have engaged in target shooting over the last six months.
Two law enforcement sources said that, on Thursday, ATF agents returned to the store to re-examine records that they had examined on a prior visit.
On Saturday, a South Windsor man — who had received a suspended prison sentence and two years probation in May on charges of stealing a dozen rifles and shotguns from Riverview Sales — tried to steal a sniper rifle from the same store, police said.
Jordan Marsh, 26, pleaded guilty May 10 to a single count of stealing a firearm and received a suspended prison sentence and two years of probation.
According to East Windsor police, on Saturday, Marsh grabbed a Bushmaster .50-caliber rifle from Riverview Sales valued at $5,000 and ran from the store. When store employees confronted Marsh, he pulled a knife, then fled on foot. Police officers eventually caught and arrested him.
In June 2007 a Somers man who occasionally worked at Riverview Sales was charged with stealing 33 guns from the business. In that case the store’s owner, David E. Laguercia, contacted ATF after determining his store could not account for 33 firearms. Video surveillance showed the man taking two guns.
In March 2008 that man pleaded no contest to two counts of stealing a firearm from the store and received an 18-month suspended prison sentence.
So, it appears the store had thefts from both employees and outsiders. In the instance of the cited inside job, the store promptly reported.