State police seek help in identifying, apprehending gun thief


Police this week were seeking a suspect in the theft of numerous guns from G & E Hardware on Cedar Neck Road in Ocean View. The white male subject was captured on surveillance cameras as he stole the guns.

The subject — believed to be 20 to 30 years old and 5 feet, 8 inches to 5 feet, 10 inches tall, weighing about 125 to 150 pounds, was seen on the surveillance video wearing a black coat, yellow hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans, black boots and a camouflage mask over his face — broke into a rear door of the business and proceeded to shatter a display case, removing 20 handguns of various calibers.

“Obviously, this is an isolated event where the person broke into the store and took numerous weapons. It’s not an ordinary occurrence,” said Delaware State Police Public Information Officer Master Cpl. Gary Fournier.

Fournier said that there is always a chance that a criminal is not working alone, but as the suspect was seen fleeing on foot in an unknown direction, police are currently only looking for one suspect.

Delaware State Police have the serial numbers of the guns stolen, which Fournier said will help the police to track the weapons.

“We have serial numbers of each of the guns that we include in our reports in order to help track these guns. If the weapon is found, recovered or pawned, we’re able to run it through the computer and make sure it is one of the weapons that was stolen,” he said. “If we come across the gun in a car stop and we run it through the computer and it comes back stolen, we’ll know that it was stolen. We’ll know if it belongs to a guy down the street or to Hocker’s.”

Fournier added that the DSP has access to a database for Delaware pawnshops, which may also help locate the guns and the suspect.

“Pawn shops give a list of everything that is sold to them. We are able to access their information and find out if any guns were attempted to be pawned there.”

He added that there is no indication why the suspect may have wanted to steal so many firearms.

“That’s very hard to say. Some people would attempt to sell them to other people or hold them for their own personal use. It’s very hard to pinpoint why they are stealing these guns.”

As a preventative measure, Fournier suggested that those who own guns make sure to keep them in a locked safe.

“Preventatively, obviously, burglars or thieves are going to try to get things the best they can… Is there a secure way? Well, obviously safes are the most important — to make sure they’re locked up. In this case, they were in a display case in a store.”

Fournier added that there have not been any new developments in the case, and he emphasized that those who may have information about the theft or a suspect should contact the police.

“We’re still currently looking for the suspect, and we’re hoping any tips or leads that we get will point us in the right direction to capturing the subject.”

If anyone has any information on the incident, they are being asked to contact Detective McCabe at (302) 856-5850, ext. 223, or to Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333. Information may also be provided via the Internet at www.tipsubmit.com.