HAMILTON, Ohio -- The Butler County Sheriff's Office, ATF and a gun group have offered up to $15,000 for information on the people who stole guns and ammunition from a Hamilton gun shop.
Police believe the thieves hit two businesses -- a convenience store and a gun shop -- in Butler County, the Butler County Sheriff's Department said Thursday.
The latter break-in happened at Center Mass Defense, a Hamilton gun shop, around 2 a.m. Thursday. According to police, the group shot out the front door and made their escape with several guns and ammunition, prompting local authorities to contact the ATF.
Friday, the ATF announced they, the sheriff's department and the National Shooting Sports Foundation were each offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.
The department's Facebook page stated officials believe the same group was responsible for a break-in Wednesday at a Quik Stop off Cincinnati Brookville Road. There, too, the thieves shot in the door and robbed the shop in the early hours of the morning.
"The door was completely disintegrated; all the glass was out," said Jon Breyfogle, who owns the store. They then stole cigarette packs and utility knives before leaving.
Patricia Skowronski, an employee of the Quik Stop, said she was relieved that no-one had been hurt, but she still had to clean up the damage.
"We emptied some of the product -- the Hostess pies here -- because they had buckshot in ‘em," Skowronski said.
According to Breyfogle, the thieves caused around $4,000 in damage to his shop.
The Butler County Sheriff's Office urged anyone with information about the robberies to contact police.
"We need to get these criminals behind bars quickly. We have no idea what their intentions are with the firearms. Obviously these are very brazen, careless, individuals," said the Sheriff Richard Jones on Facebook.
ATF officials asked anyone with information to call them at 1-800-283-4876 or the Butler County Sheriff's Office at 513-785-1238. Tips can also be sent to the ATF at email@example.com or via their website.