Federal agents are helping Butler County investigate masked thieves who robbed two businesses this past week.
The Butler County Sheriff’s Office says the suspects gained access to a gun shop and a convenience store by shooting out the glass doors on the front of the businesses.
Suspects broke into Center Mass Defense in the 4400 block of Hamilton Cleves Road in Ross Twp. at 1:45 a.m. Thursday, said owner Faron Addis.
The thieves stole four to six guns — hand guns, shot guns and rifles — and fired three to five rounds with their shotguns inside the shop, damaging the glass showcases and some weapons in the store, he said.
Addis estimated the value of the guns and damage to the inside of the business at $4,000 to $5,000.
Addis said the robbery was unique because the thieves entered the store by shooting out a glass door, then once inside, fired several more shots.
The thieves weren’t concerned about “making noise,” he said, estimating the value of the guns stolen and damage to the inside of the business at $4,000 to $5,000.
Two days before the gun shop robbery, thieves also broke into the Marathon gas station Quik Stop in the 6000 block of Cincinnati Brookville Road in Okeana.
The suspects, all wearing hoodies, entered the store by shooting out the glass doors.
“The door was completely disintegrated; all the glass was out,” said Jon Breyfogle, who owns the store. The thieves stole cigarette packs and utility knives before leaving.
Patricia Skowronski, an employee of the Quik Stop, said she was relieved that no-one had been hurt, but she still had to clean up the damage.
“We emptied some of the product — the Hostess pies here — because they had buckshot in them,” Skowronski said.
According to Breyfogle, the thieves caused around $4,000 in damage to his business.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is investigating, and the Butler County Sheriff’s Office urged anyone with information about the robberies to contact police.
“We need to get these criminals behind bars quickly. We have no idea what their intentions are with the firearms. Obviously these are very brazen, careless, individuals,” Sheriff Richard Jones said on Facebook. “It appears the two incidents are connected and could possibly be the same suspects.”
Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to call 513-785-1238 or text tips anonymously by texting “COPS” to 274637.
This article contains additional reporting by Journal-News media partner WCPO.