The getaway vehicle could hold the key to helping Vernon RCMP solve a break-and-enter at a Vernon gun shop Sunday.
Police responded to a commercial alarm at Del Selin Gunsmith Ltd. in the 2800 block of 289th Street just before 8 p.m.
“The investigation revealed that a Toyota pickup had driven through the front wall of the business,” said Vernon RCMP Cpl. Gerry Kovacs. “It was discovered that the Toyota had been stolen a short time earlier from a neighbouring business and was used as a battering ram to enter the gun shop.”
Once inside, the suspect or suspects stole five Czech Republic SKS semiautomatic assault-style firearms. The guns are similar in appearance to an AK-47.
It is unknown if ammunition was taken during the theft.
RCMP have obtained the licence plate number and a description of the vehicle used by the suspects after the theft.
“The suspects fled the scene in a silver-coloured Chevrolet Optra with B.C. licence plate 611-LWN,” said Kovacs. “The vehicle is unique in that the driver’s door is white and the front fender on the driver’s side is brown.”
Anytime firearms are stolen from a home or business, it raises the collective eyebrows of the RCMP.
“It’s always a concern for us when firearms are being stolen and people put the firearms into circulation not for the purpose of what they were intended for,” said Kovacs.
A firearm similar to the ones stolen Sunday would be used for recreational purposes, such as target shooting, but not for hunting.
“These are weapons that frighten people just in their appearance alone, especially people not familiar with firearms,” said Kovacs.
The value of the stolen guns is not known.
Anybody with any information on the theft or the whereabouts of the Chevrolet Optra is asked to call the Vernon RCMP at 250-545-7171, call 911 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.