Thieves hit a Longs-area gun store after Hurricane Matthew knocked out its power, resulting in about 225 guns being stolen.
“It’s heartbreaking to think people would do that when you’re down,” said Dan Huneycutt, owner of Five Star Gun LLC on S.C. 9 E.
There are now “a lot of bad guns out on the streets with the wrong people,” Huneycutt said.
Glocks, assault rifles, collector guns, handguns, and more were lifted from the store that lost power during the storm Saturday. Sometime that night, thieves hit the vulnerable building housing hundreds of different guns, taking about 60 percent of the inventory, Huneycutt said.
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“We lost power to the [security] cameras about 4 o’clock, and we lost power from back-up batteries about 8 o’clock [Saturday],” said Huneycutt.
He tried to get to the store to stay the night, but was barred by downed trees and couldn’t get there.
“It was so dark and the wind was so bad. Trees were down everywhere. I couldn’t even leave my house,” Huneycutt said.
Luckily, a friend of a store manager’s, who is also a retired police officer, happened by Sunday morning and stopped when he noticed a tree down in front of the gun store.
He saw that the front door’s glass was broken and a metal safety door was partially opened, so he phoned Huneycutt and Horry County police.
Officers arrived at the store about 7:50 a.m. Sunday in reference to the burglary, according to a police report.
The retired officer told police he spotted several potential clues outside, including a $20 bill, a glove and a box, the report states.
He turned the items over to police, who also obtained serial numbers for all the stolen inventory.
Police said the investigation remained ongoing Wednesday afternoon.
“We have several detectives working on it. We believe it is a serious incident for the community, and we are dedicated to solve the burglary. Unfortunately, I cannot discuss any details because it is an active investigation,” said Lt. Raul Denis, spokesman with Horry County police, by email.
The incident was also reported to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and an agent came to the store and helped Huneycutt review inventory.
Huneycutt said he has seen lots of support from the community, and people have brought by food and offered help.
“We didn’t realize we had so many friends until we looked around,” he said.
Huneycutt said since the break-in, the store’s security has been beefed up and back-up batteries to the security system will now last days instead of hours if case of another outage.
The store has been operating in the Longs area for about 14 months, Huneycutt said.
“We’re going to continue to go on. We’re not going to let this stop us, but it’s real disheartening,” he said.