Robbery backfires

A HAMILTON HILL man has been charged for his alleged role in the daring theft of 100 firearms from a Yangebup gun superstore last Thursday (November 21).

The thieves broke into Claremont Firearms around 11.30pm, using power tools to break through the concrete wall of the property next door.

The 27-year-old man was charged with stealing a motor vehicle, criminal damage by fire, stealing and aggravated burglary and commit.

He was arrested after a member of the public discovered paperwork linked to the gun shop near Bibra Lake, leading to an intensive police search of the area that uncovered 15 of the stolen firearms.

Another firearm was recovered during the search of a Hamilton Hill residence “linked to” the man.

Initially police said they believed the stolen weapons were mostly handguns, but early footage of the recovered weapons showed long-barrelled weapons, including what appeared to be an Adler tactical shotgun.

Sniper rifles

Claremont Firearms, which bills itself as ‘Perth’s Firearms Superstore’, also stocks a wide range of ex-military guns, including Soviet-made sniper rifles from World War II.

After the robbery a white Toyota Hilux that police believed was used in the heist was found burnt-out in North Lake, having been first reported stolen from Cockburn Central Shopping Centre on November 11. Police have set up ‘Taskforce Prosper’ to find the 80-odd firearms unaccounted for, with detective inspector Peter Foley saying that “it is fair to say the intended destination of the stolen firearms is the black market, and into the hands of criminals.”

Handguns go for about $10,000 on the black market.

The gun heist comes in the wake of a similar crime on September 4 in Beckenham, where over 100 firearms were stolen from an elderly gun shop owner who was forced to open his 30-tonne gun vault. Police quickly recovered the firearms.

They said the two robberies were likely not committed by the same crims, citing key differences in the heists.

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission “conservatively estimate[s] that there are more than 260,000 firearms in the illicit [Australian] firearms market”, while the UN Office on Drugs and Crime estimates “somewhere between 300,000 and 600,000 firearms.”

by JUSTIN STAHL

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