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Burglars ram Petaluma gun store, steal 18 handguns

A surveillance camera caught much of the action in a brazen daylight heist of a Petaluma gun store early Saturday, when four burglars rammed their car into the storefront, ran inside and stole a small cache of firearms, police said.

The burglary happened about 7:20 a.m. at Independence Armory at 501 Lakeville Street. The store was closed at the time.

Surveillance video caught the men smashing the rear-end of a light-green 1990s model Honda Accord through glass panels and a security grate in the front of the store.

They moved the car, pushed past debris and grabbed 18 mostly semi-automatic Glock handguns, said the owner, Wael Hadid.

Burglars tried to steal at least one AR-15 assault-style rifle but could not unlock a security cable running through the trigger guard, Hadid said.

They wasted no time, leaving moments after they arrived. Police responding to a security alarm came about three minutes later, Hadid said.

“They were in an out of here in about a minute and a half,” Hadid said. “It appears they did this kind of thing before.”

He estimated the stolen guns, which included several revolvers and collectible firearms, were worth $12,000.

Hadid did not estimate the cost of damage to the leased building. He boarded up the broken door and was temporarily moving his guns to another location until permanent repairs could be made.

“It really sucks,” Hadid said.

Police sought the public’s help in finding the suspects. They released a still photo of the car and another low-quality image of a person in the store.

Sgt. Brian Miller said there have been burglaries at other Petaluma gun stores but none as brazen. The thieves “knew what they were there for,” he said.

“At some point these guns are probably going to be sold for profit,” Miller said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Officer Patrick Gerke at 707-781-1225.

You can reach Staff Writer Paul Payne at 568-5312 or paul.payne@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @ppayne.

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