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Standoff at Pulaski pawn shop ends without a suspect

Police searched building with bomb robot only to learn it was empty

PULASKI, Va. – A more than six-hour police stand-off that closed down Main Street in the Town of Pulaski ended with no suspect.

Police initially believed a person who had broken into the Pulaski pawn shop was still inside when they arrived, but after several hours of investigating, they determined the suspect got away.

Police were worried the suspect might be armed, so they called in a bomb robot and dogs to go in, but after several hours, they learned the building had been clear all along.

Police said the break in happened just after 6:30 Sunday morning.

"Officers were on the scene very, very quickly, set up a perimeter thinking the suspect was possibly still inside. At that point, they notified our sheriff's office, tag teams were called," said Pulaski County Sheriff Mike Worrell.

Worrell says the suspect stole several handguns. In order to keep officers safe, they had a robot search the building instead.

"It's a very large building... a little over 14,000 square feet, so that was the biggest reason for using the robot was for safety. Just in case someone was in there, we've got eyes inside, without a body inside," said Worrell.

After more than six hours of searching, Worrell said they came to a frustrating conclusion.

"We're fairly certain the suspect had left prior to the police department arriving on scene," said Worrell.

After reviewing the security tapes, police say the suspect was able to break in and take the guns in under a minute, escaping before police arrived three minutes later.