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Teens Arrested in Burglary of Pennsylvania Gun Shop

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After thieves smashed a car through the front door of Seconds Count Firearms in Mercer Borough, Pennsylvania, gun store owner Thomas Surano has been trying to piece his shattered business back together. 

“You put your heart and soul into a business and then just kids wanting to be idiots destroy everything you’ve built up over years. Your name, your reputation, everything,” Surano told WMFJ-TV in Pittsburgh. 

Four people have been arrested and charged with the smash-and-grab, which resulted in at least ten AR-15 rifles being stolen from the shop, and as Surano indicated, most of them are juveniles.

Pittsburgh Public Safety said about 9 p.m., officers stopped a car at West Warrington Avenue and Saw Mill Run Boulevard after police were told by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to be on the lookout for a White Hyundai Accent that was involved in the gun store burglary.

During the traffic stop, police said they saw guns in plain view inside the car. It’s unclear how many guns were allegedly found inside the car.

Three of those arrested are juveniles who are each charged with possession of a firearm by a minor and receiving stolen property.

They were released to juvenile probation for placement, police said.

Mehki Reed, 19, of Pittsburgh, was charged with person not to possess a firearm.

He was transported to the Allegheny County Jail. ATF is handling the investigation.

According to Mercer County District Attorney Peter Acker, store surveillance footage captured video of five suspects, all wearing masks, removing guns through the gaping hole where Second Counts Firearms front door used to be, so at least one more arrest may be in store. 

Authorities are also investigating another burglary at Dukes Sport Shop in nearby Shenango Township, where at least ten more rifles were stolen on Sunday morning, though they haven’t officially connected the teens to that break-in. 

The sad truth is that even if these juveniles are charged with both burglaries, the odds of them facing any significant consequences are pretty slim, at least if their cases end up being adjudicated in juvenile court. Reed, on the other hand, is legally an adult, and could end up facing federal charges for his alleged role in the thefts. 

Surano, meanwhile, is wondering how he’s going to recover from the damage to his shop and the loss of inventory. According to the store owner, the guns alone were worth about $20,000, but his building is also going to require some extensive repairs after the thieves used a car stolen in Erie, Pennsylvania to crash through the storefront early Monday morning. 

After learning that a white Hyundai Accent had been stolen that morning and had last been seen two blocks north of the break-in, authorities put out an alert to locate the vehicle.

Although the license plate had been switched on the Hyandai, the suspects didn’t know that the owner was tracing it through GPS and was giving authorities updates on its location.

Using that information and images from license plate readers, Police in Pittsburgh spotted the Hyundai.

Investigators say the driver rammed the Hyundai into one of the police cruisers that had boxed them in. One adult and three juveniles were arrested.

Police say three AR-15 rifles, two of them with Seconds Count price tags attached could be seen inside the car, according to the affidavit.

I feel for Surano, though I think he’s giving the suspects too much credit when he says they were just being “idiots”. I engaged in my fair share of adolescent stupidity when I a teenager, but there’s a big difference between TP-ing someone’s house and committing a federal felony. I don’t care how young these suspects may be; this was a serious crime, not kids being kids. Unfortunately, there’s a very good chance that the majority of those arrested for destroying Surano’s business and stealing his property are going to get what amounts to a slap on the wrist. In fact, it probably won’t be long before the juveniles are released from custody and returned to their parents while they await trial… or, more likely, a plea deal that punishes them with a few years of probation. 

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