Suspects still sought in Pittsylvania County gun store smash-and-grab

Suspects caused major damage, but didn't get away with guns

PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. – "My first fear was that the building was irreparable," Guns, Gear & Ammo owner Joshua Jennings said.

That's what Jennings thought when he pulled up to his store last week and saw the gaping hole left by the box truck that had just smashed through the store.

"The second thought was, 'How am I going to secure all these firearms?' Because even though they're secured in containers, safes, and under lock and key, you don't leave an open building. Basically, I ended up camping out with a shotgun until we ended up with a wall back in place," Jennings said.

According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, over the last seven years reports of gun thefts or losses from federal firearms licensees in Virginia have fluctuated.

The high was 109 in 2017. The low was 70 in 2014.

In Danville, according to the police department, in the last two years 21 guns have been stolen from two gun stores and a pawn shop.

Some of the guns have been recovered and suspects have been charged in two of the three cases.

"My understanding is, there's a lot of gang activity coming out of larger cities like Roanoke and Greensboro, Raleigh," Jennings said.

On Thursday, 10 News asked U.S. Senator Mark Warner, D-Va., about his thoughts on gun control and how to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them.

"It's been disappointing to me that we've not been able to find common ground. That's not going to stop every tragedy. Part of this is also about the issues around mental health issues," Warner said.

For Jennings, he's making some changes of his own, especially since last week's incident is not the first time his shop has been targeted by criminals.

"The wall is much tougher than it was. We're going to be putting up some bollards, some pylons, having some additional security (systems)," he explained.

He said despite his business being a popular target, he doesn't plan on moving it.

He estimated the damage to the store from last week's smash-and-grab break-in to be $10,000-15,000.

What's worse, he doesn't have insurance because, he says, he can't afford it.

If you have any information about the case, contact the Pittsylvania County Sheriff's Office.