A break-in occurred at a secure armory located at the Lincoln Army Reserve. Preliminary reports indicate more than a dozen high-powered weapons have gone missing.
An FBI spokesperson confirmed there was a break-in at the Lincoln Army Reserve in central Massachusetts. Most of the stolen items are powerful military-issue weapons. Among the weapons that have gone missing are six M4 assault rifles, 10 pistols, and several long guns. The daring daylight break-in occurred on Saturday. Surprisingly, no alarms went off, and the robbery remained undiscovered until Sunday morning. There is speculation that the alarms might have been switched off due to heavy construction activity in the vicinity. Worcester City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. added that police are already looking for one man. It is apparent from CCTV footage that the break-in was a one-man mission.
The FBI already has a suspect, one who was visible near the armory. Though the man hasn’t been identified yet, nor has it been corroborated that the man was the one who broke into the weapons storage facility, the FBI also has some visual evidence of a black SUV that was parked near the Lincoln Army Reserve, reported the Daily Beast.
As the break-in occurred at an armory, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been investigating it. Investigators have described the suspect as a man with a light skin tone and a stocky frame. He was wearing white T-shirt and a dark vest. The vehicle parked close to the armory was a dark BMW hatchback. The robbery appears to have occurred between 6 p.m. Saturday and 1 a.m. Sunday, reported WBZ-TV. Apparently an employee who noticed the robbery reported seeing smoke rising from the building. As protocols prevent storing weapons and ammunition at the same location, the fire couldn’t have become a much larger threat.
Since they belonged to the military, all the stolen weapons have serial numbers and registration. The details of the weapons have been entered into the national database that keeps a centralized record of all stolen or missing weapons, which is available to any member of the federal, state, and local police. In case even one of the weapons shows up, investigators will have enough to go on.
The robbery occurred within a day of the deadly Paris attacks. Incidentally, the attackers’ choice of weapon was assault rifles. As such, it is understandable that the break-in might somehow be connected to terrorism. Enterprising terrorists do possess the know-how of planning and executing heists at secure facilities to cart away whatever they deem fit. However, according to the FBI, there is no evidence to suggest terrorist might be involved, said FBI spokesperson Kristen Setera.
“There is no indication that these missing weapons are connected to any kind of terrorism threat whatsoever. Nevertheless, every effort will be made to recover these weapons immediately. Police are increasing patrols in several key locations. We are collaborating with Massachusetts State Police, Worcester Police and others to locate and recover these weapons immediately.”
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker expressed concern that even if the weapons weren’t stolen by terrorists, the fact that high-powered weapons belonging to the military are out in the open is quite worrying.
“I’m especially concerned about it. 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 thief is suspected to have gained entry into the armory through the reserve center’s roof, reported the New York Daily News. He then cut a hole in the ceiling of the safe the guns were stored in.
The armory break-in of this kind is reported to be a first for the Army’s 5,000 standalone armories. It is unclear if the break-in will result in the revision of a few weapons storage protocols. However, surveillance has been stepped up.
[Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images]