The Lincoln W. Stoddard U.S. Army Reserve Center located on Lake Avenue in Worcester, Massachusetts, was broken into over the weekend. Thieves got away with six M4 assault rifles and 10 handguns from what was reported to be a secure vault. The federally operated Massachusetts armory is reported to be surrounded with barbed-wire fence, according to 22 News.
Authorities believe that a lone male was involved and that the break-in occurred after 6 p.m. Saturday, but before 1 a.m. Sunday. Police became aware of the break-in and theft at about 8:30 a.m. Sunday morning when the Worcester Fire Department received an alert of smoke in the building. When they attended the scene with police, evidence of the break-in became apparent, according to the Worcester Telegram. Authorities have indicated that they have surveillance images of a suspect, but have not released copies to the public.
Because the weapons were stolen from the Massachusetts armory such a short amount of time after the Paris attacks, some have questioned whether there could be a connection between the two, or between the armory heist and the Islamic State or ISIS or any other terrorist group.
So far, authorities state that there is no reason to believe that there is any connection between the missing M4 assault rifles and handguns and the attacks in Paris that ISIS has claimed responsibility for, as reported by the Inquisitr.
The missing rifles and handguns from the Worcester armory are reported to have been added to National Crime Information Center, which allows law enforcement personnel to confirm if they come across the weapons in the future.
The thief was said to gain entry through a roof entrance of the armory. They then cut a hole in the ceiling of the safe the guns were stored in.
Despite the assurances of the FBI, the timing of the disappearance of the firearms in Worcester and the Paris attacks has more than one resident feeling “uneasy.”
“It’s just very disturbing. The fact that, you know, who’s guarding these weapons. And there’s huge caches of these, like all over the state and country,” Worcester employee Ben Mojica stated.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has voiced concerns about the missing arsenal, according to WCVB.
“I’m especially concerned about it,” Baker was reported to have stated on Monday. “Separate and apart from anything that has to do with terrorism, I’m concerned about the fact that some really high caliber weapons were stolen from a military facility in the first place.”
The U.S. Army is said to have 5,000 “stand-alone” armories. The Worcester break-in is suspected to be the first ever in the history of any U.S. armory, which are generally thought to be extremely secure.
Colt describes the M4 Carbine as being the “weapon of choice” for the U.S. Armed Forces. M4 rifles have been used in military operations around the world. The Colt M4 Carbine is said to be the only 5.56 mm carbine built to “meet or exceed” the specifications of the U.S. military.
The Worcester Police Department has stated that they are working with both state and federal official in an attempt to regain the missing arsenal and catch the culprit. A member of the police department works with the FBI on a full-time basis and is reported to be co-coordinating the local police’s efforts.
[Feature Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]