ORLANDO, Fla. Dec 26 2016- Orlando police were on the lookout Tuesday for four men caught on camera stealing six rifles from a Bass Pro Shop on International Drive.
The burglary took place early Sunday, the Orlando Police Department said.
Along with the rifles, the thieves made off with several pairs of binoculars and other items from the store.
Federal authorities told Channel 9’s Jeff Levkulich that they’ve seen an uptick in gun thefts in Central Florida.
Investigators told Eyewitness News there have been more than 500 firearms stolen in 27 separate incidents since January in the Orlando/Tampa area. Few of the firearms have been recovered. In Central Florida, 13 of the thefts resulted in more than 250 guns stolen.
"There is a very large demand for firearms, particularly for the persons who cannot possess them, who can't purchase them through legal channels,” said Mary Harmon Salter, with ATF.
Salter said there are no federal regulations requiring gun stores to have security. But the agency continues to appeal to licensees to take extra measures.
"We strongly suggest that licensees lock all of their firearms in a safe or a vault,” Salter said.
Many of the weapons are going to areas to be sold where guns are hard to get, such as Puerto Rico, where they can make a lot more than what they could get for street value in Orlando, investigators said.