ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Three men have been charged in the theft of dozens of firearms in three Northern Virginia gun store burglary incidents over the past ten days.
Federal authorities say 23-year-old Preston Holmes, 23-year-old Matthew Jones and 19-year-old Daniel Quarles are believed to be responsible for the burglaries at the 50 West Armory gun shop in Chantilly on March 11 and two other burglaries on March 14 at the SSG Tactical store and A.S.H. Tactical store in Fredericksburg.
Surveillance video from the Chantilly burglary showed the suspects smashing several glass display cases and filling a large plastic tub with weapons. They were able steal with 35 handguns in just 45 seconds before getting away. The manager of 50 West Armory said the stolen weapons were worth more than $25,000 and they left behind $45,000 in damage.
"We are thrilled that they were caught," said manager Scott Wahl. "We are amazed with Fairfax County responding so quickly to them breaking into the store and we can't thank Fairfax County and ATF enough. We are even more ecstatic in the fact they caught them within a week."
Wahl did check to see if the suspects were previous customers.
"Right now, we don't recognize them," he said. "We did go actually back to our database to see if maybe they had purchased something from the store before, but we don't have any record of them ever purchasing anything from the store."
The heists has prompted Wahl and others to examine their security.
"Any time you go into something like this, any time anybody has a facility broken into, whether it be your home or business, I think you would not be smart not to look and see if we can do better," the manager said.
At SSG Tactical in Fredericksburg, the suspects were seen on surveillance video pulling up in a U-Haul van attempting to break into the gun shop. However, they were unable to get into store and steal any weapons.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says the suspects were arrested this weekend after law enforcement received a tip about their identities. They were charged with conspiracy and theft of firearms from a federally licensed firearms dealer in federal court on Monday.
Each suspect is facing a maximum of 10 years in prison if convicted.