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45 Guns Remain from Scott’s Guns Burglary
HORSEHEADS (WENY) -- 49 guns were stolen from Scott's Guns on Watkins Road in Horseheads on October 16, 2013. Nine months later, three suspects are behind bars and charged locally. Federal charges are still pending and many of the guns are still out on the streets.
"Guns, the proliferation of stolen fire arms is a very significant crime in Chemung County and New York State," said Weeden Wetmore, Chemung County District Attorney.
After about nine months 22-year-old Douglas Church of Elmira is accused of breaking in to the Gun Shop and filling up backpacks with those guns.
He allegedly passed them to 26-year-old Zachary Smith, also of Elmira, who was outside, on the lookout.
Not soon after, the store alarm went off, and the two men darted into a swamp behind the store, avoiding police. They picked up the guns the next day.
Owner, Scott Bailey, is out of town, but spoke with WENY news on the phone. He says since October they've reinforced doors and windows, bought smashproof cases, and a better camera system. Bailey says they're also moving locations soon.
Police say one of the guns stolen from Scott's guns was found at the scene of an attempted murder in Elmira on June 1st. Three more were found out of the area and 45 of them are still out there.
"I know there are a lot of guns that hopefully will be found and taken off the streets, but hopefully the punishment is severe for all involved," said Bailey.
Authorities say the guns were kept at Zachary Smith and his 18-year-old girlfriend, Brianna Lowe's House.
In a statement to investigators, Church says he sold all of his guns to random people within a week and half.
Smith told a confidential source that he went to New York City on a bus with a backpack full of those stolen guns- cashing out with about $10,000.
"Some of these are very high powered firearms with lots of high capacity magazines with many bullets," said Scott Heagney, Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. "We're looking at a lot of potential crime that could be caused with these guns."
Smith and Church are charged with third degree burglary and third-degree grand larceny.
Lowe was charged with third-degree criminal possession of stolen property.
Jail records indicate, Smith and Church remain behind bars at Livingston County Jail. According to United States Attorney William Hochul, Smith and Church are being held without bail.
Hochel said Smith, Church, and Lowe face federal charges of conspiracy to deal a firearms without a license and possession of stolen firearms.
Investigators are offering a $10,000 reward for any recovered guns or information that leads to more arrests. Call your local police department or 911 with any information.