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20 guns stolen in Southern Vermont heist - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

20 guns stolen in Southern Vermont heist

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ROCKINGHAM, Vt. -

A few days ago, the Vermont State Police put out a press release about a burglary at a Rockingham convenience store. It had very few details. We got the feeling there was more to the story. Turns out, we were right.

What could have been your run-of-the-mill smash and grab turned into so much more at this Jiffy Mart last Thursday.

"There's at least three separate people on the surveillance video but that doesn't mean there weren't more people who weren't visible," Vt. State Police Det. Lt. John-Paul Schmidt said.

The burglary suspects busted open a safe, cracked an ATM and made off with $6,500. But police say it's what the thieves took from the basement that has them most concerned and prompted the ATF to join the case.

"It's a mixture of handguns and long guns, as well as ammunition for many of those firearms," Schmidt said.

Twenty weapons worth $13,000 gone in an early morning gun heist. But investigators never told the public what was stolen until we asked.

Reporter Jennifer Costa: Why is the State Police only disclosing that guns were stolen now?

Det. Lt. John-Paul Schmidt: If we tip our hand too much it could inhibit the investigation in the future. I mean, at this point it's been a week; that path didn't pan out.

The guns were swiped from a large closet beneath the Jiffy Mart. Investigators tell us Scott Falzo rented the space from the owner of the gas station. He's a licensed gun dealer. But Falzo doesn't advertise, meaning the public wouldn't even know his business is in the basement. Which got us thinking-- were these lucky thieves who stumbled on the stash? Or...

Jennifer Costa: Was this an inside job?

Det. Lt. John-Paul Schmidt: I can't definitely say yes or no.

What the cops can say is Falzo is cooperating. He gave them the serial numbers for every stolen weapon. Public social media posts show he's concerned about public safety and offering a reward for information on the heist.

"There's a very good chance based on the past that they are going to go out of state to an urban area," Schmidt said.

Detectives say stolen guns are typically tied to the drug trade, sold or bartered for opiates. State police are still following up on several leads and that's where you come in.

"At this point, we are willing to seek help. And if the public has information about these guns or people who took these guns, trying to unload these guns, we certainly want to hear about it so these guns aren't used to hurt somebody," Schmidt said.

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