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."