MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. (WHNT) - A burglary at a Muscle Shoals business has local and federal authorities on high alert.
'The Pawn Shop' on Woodward Avenue was burglarized over the weekend, and the thieves stole approximatey 70 guns.
Monday morning, plywood covered the back door that the burglars pried open. The store also posted a hand-written note on the front entrance saying "Closed for Inventory."
Muscle Shoals Police say thieves broke in to the business sometime between Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.
"This was more involved than your normal smash-and-grab or your simple theft,” explained Chief Robert Evans. “This apparently, from what we are able to determine, was well thought-out and planned."
Before the heist, investigators say the power to the building was shut off and the alarm disabled, giving the burglars free access to a building with numerous guns inside.
"Obviously they knew what they were after, and like I said, they did obtain a large quantity of weapons," said Evans.
Such a large number, that police have called in the ATF to help investigate.
Police first thought the number of stolen guns could exceed 100. On Tuesday, they lowered the estimate to approximately 70. It's still a high number, which has Police Chief Robert Evans worried.
"It's definitely a concern to us. Any time there is a weapon out there that we can't account for, is going to be a concern to us," said Evans. "But especially when you have a large quantity of weapons such as what we are talking about now."
Chief Evans says the vast majority of stolen guns were new and still in the box.
The chief’s biggest concern is those stolen weapons ending up in the wrong hands.
If you saw anything you think might help Muscle Shoals Police in this investigation, you are strongly urged to call the Shoals Area Crime Stoppers Tipline at (256) 386-8685. You don't have to give your name.