FRESNO, Calif. - Four men are behind bars, accused of breaking into a local firearms store and stealing 50 guns. With the help of multiple police agencies, Fresno Police made its presence felt in Modesto early Thursday morning. Assisted by SWAT, the Special Response Team, Clovis PD and ATF, authorities arrested four out of six suspects allegedly tied to a gun store burglary.
"Something of this magnitude, we have 50 firearms stolen from a licensed dealer. It's a rarity," said Chief Jerry Dyer.
Dyer displayed two handguns and one rifle recovered after the arrest. The suspects are seen on surveillance video from the night of October 20 outside of PRK Arms before police say they used bolt cutters to break in, stealing 25 handguns and 25 rifles.
"Several of these individuals are either in a gang or associated with a gang in Stanislaus County but we don't have anything in terms of a validation," said Dyer.
A tip on 21-year-old Johnny Sanchez's probation led detectives to review the data from his GPS ankle monitor, learning Sanchez made a stop at an ARCO gas station in Turlock. Security footage helped police identify the other suspects. Along with Sanchez, 21-year-old Nathan Creel, 23-year-old James Britt and 40-year-old Luis Galvan are now in custody. Detective Ryan Rockwell says PRK Arms employees have never seen them come into the store.
"However, I do show that Sanchez was in the area the night before casing the area based on the GPS historical data," said Rockwell.
Dyer says surveillance cameras inside PRK Arms weren't on when the burglary happened. A business next door provided video. Dyer advises gun dealers to take extra security measures.
"It would be my preference as a police chief that firearms dealers would take more precautions in terms of securing those firearms," said Dyer.
The two remaining suspects are 51-year-old David Avina and 52-year-old Dolores Garza are believed to be connected to this case. Please call Crime Stoppers at 498-STOP. Information leading to their arrests or the recovery of 47 remaining guns could get you $3,000.