By WMCActionNews5.com Staff
By Jerry Askin
OLIVE BRANCH, MS (WMC) -Sixty-seven guns were stolen outside a sporting goods store in Olive Branch.
The guns were in a trailer parked at Academy Sports on Goodman Road. The trailer's driver arrived at around 10 p.m. He was set to deliver the contents of the trailer to the store at 6 a.m. the next day.
Police said the truck driver went to sleep behind the store Sunday night; when he woke up, the guns and ammo were gone.
"We don't want to see these guns in the hands of young people or criminals at all," Olive Branch Police Chief Don Gammage said. "I'm so afraid they're going to make it out to the black market."
The guns taken were a mixture of handguns and long guns. Olive Branch Police Department said 61 of the 67 guns were handguns. Two of the guns are AR 15s. Two other guns were shotguns. Investigators did not release the type of guns for the final two.
"It is very scary thing to think about," Olive Branch resident Laura Molner said. "For people who live here, who live in Memphis, it's terrifying."
Olive Branch residents said it is not something they are used to hearing about in their city.
"You're safe where you're at," Molner said. "You don't hear things here. It's more like cities around us. Then, all of a sudden, it's been brought into our city."
But others said crime is everywhere, including Olive Branch.
One business owner said he has experienced thieves trying to break into his store more than once.
"It's unusual to hear something like that in Olive Branch," Terry McMullin, jewelry store owner, said.
McMullin owns Master Jewelers, located across the street from Academy Sports.
"We've had our problems in Olive Branch as well," McMullin said. "So crime is everywhere."
Molner and McMullin both are concerned their city is now more dangerous, because those guns could be in the hands of criminals.
"It's something that's concerning to me," McMullin said. "It's something that leads to increased crime. Not feeling safe in the community."
"It's scary. As someone who lives in Olive Branch, it's really scary to think that it could get into the wrong hands," Molner said.
Gammage said the driver of the Knoxville-based trucking company has been questioned and is cooperating. As for the possibility of it being an inside job?
"We do not feel like this was random, I will say that," Gammage said.
Gammage said investigators have all the serial numbers and model numbers to the missing weapons. He's asking for the public's help in obtaining as much information as possible in order to find the stolen guns and the person(s) responsible.
"Firearms have always been liquid in the criminal world because they're easy to get rid of and they're not disposing of them through legal channels," Jeff Duncan, Gun Exchange of Olive Branch, said.
"If you think you saw something, please call us," Gammage said.
Academy Sports and Outdoors opened approximately two years ago in Olive Branch. A spokesperson for the company said the company is working with police.
The Knoxville-based trucking company that owned the trailer declined to comment on the situation.
Investigators are currently going through video surveillance hoping to track down the person(s) responsible. They're also working alongside the ATF and nearby law enforcement agencies.
Gammage said in March another trailer was broken into and, according to the crime tracker, that burglary happened at Academy Sports near Wolfchase.
"We don't know if they are connected at this point," Gammage said. "We are definitely working to see if they are connected."
By James Jaillet
The Transportation Security Administration has issued an internal report warning of the potential for terrorists to use trucks as weapons to conduct attacks. TSA also released a list of countermeasures, mostly involving awareness of surroundings and reporting suspicious activity, that truck owners and operators should heed to help prevent such attacks from occurring.
Though none have occurred in the U.S., high-profile truck-ramming attacks have been carried out elsewhere, including a July 2016 attack in Nice, France, that killed 87 people and injured 430, and a similar attack in December 2016 in Berlin, Germany, in which 12 people were killed and 56 were injured. The TSA report cites these and 15 other vehicle-ramming attacks, 10 of which occurred in the past 10 months. The straight truck used in the Nice attack was rented, but the truck and trailer used by terrorists in the Berlin attack was hijacked and driven to Berlin by the assailant. The trucker was murdered by the attacker during the hijacking.
Carriers and drivers should maintain “a high level of alertness,” the report says, and should report suspicious activity to authorities and, in the case of drivers, to their carrier. Other countermeasures for carriers and drivers include parking in secure locations, ensuring vehicles are locked, refusing rides for hitchhikers and other strangers and, for carriers, ensuring route compliance of drivers.
Truck used in Berlin attack was hijacked, trucking company boss saysThe Scania tractor-trailer used in the deadly terror attack in Berlin, Germany, on Monday was hijacked, according to a report from Britain's The Independent, citing ...
“Commercial vehicle owners and operators should alert their staff to possible theft or hijacking of vehicles by would-be attackers and the importance of reporting suspicious activities to appropriate authorities,” the report says.
Dubbed “Vehicle Ramming: Threat Landscape, Indicators and Countermeasures,” the memo was issued to Homeland Security staffers, law enforcement agencies and others this week. The seven-page internal memo, marked unclassified, was obtained by Overdrive Friday.
“Terrorist organizations overseas have advocated conducting vehicle ramming attacks…against crowds, buildings and other vehicles. It is likely that terrorist groups will continue to encourage aspiring attackers to employ unsophisticated attacks such as vehicle-ramming, since these types of attacks minimize the potential for premature detection and could inflict mass fatalities, if successful,” according to the report.
Trucks in particular “present an especially attractive mechanism for ramming attacks,” the report says, “because of the ease with which they can penetrate security barriers and the large-scale damage they can inflict on people and infrastructure.”
— David Hollis contributed to this report.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE - CCJ