Gun store break-in leads to multi-county chase, juvenile in custody

Tom George Image
Thursday, July 13, 2023
Gun store break-in leads to multi-county chase, juvenile in custody
It all began at 3 a.m., when Wendell Police Department received a call about a break-in at a gun shop.

WENDELL, N.C. (WTVD) -- A smash and grab at a gun store followed by a police chase ended with a juvenile in custody.

It all happened during the dead of night in Wendell. Investigators said they received a call at 3 a.m. Thursday about a break-in at Perry's Gun Shop on East Third Street.

When Wendell police officers arrived they saw several people driving away from the business. The officers started chasing them.

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The chase continued into Johnston County, where sheriff's deputies took over. When the suspects made their way into Wake County, deputies in that jurisdiction took over.

The chase came to an end near the Interstate 40/440 split. Some of the suspects were still able to get away, but investigators were able to catch one suspect who was younger than 18.

Wendell Police said there are still three other suspects out there as they continue to investigate.

The owners are in shock by what happened and said they're still shaken up.

"You know to see somebody with no respect or care for something that does not belong to them that obviously gets you kind of upset for sure it's just disrespectful and disappointing," said Hannah Perry Hopkins.

The owner said the suspects were only inside for about 10 minutes.

The business has to do inventory with the ATF and police to figure out just how many guns were taken. Some were recovered.

The ATF said legal gun stores are becoming targets for guns to get into the wrong hands.

"We've had everything from natural disasters that have impacted the service and security of some of our businesses, we've had moments of civil unrest where those businesses were targeted, we have copy-cat crimes where people commit the same kind of crimes they've seen in other cities and counties," said ATF agent Corey Ray of the Charlotte Division.

North Carolina has seen some of the highest theft numbers in the country in the past few years -- nearly 50 cases -- and more than 300 guns stolen last year alone.

Back at Perry's, the owners also had some cleaning up to do -- a broken door, shards of glass. But they're also beefing up security to make sure the only guns leaving here again are the ones sold to law-abiding citizens.

"We work hard to protect those rights and to make sure the rules are in place so they don't end up in the wrong hands," Perry Hopkins said.