Dragon Man Mel Bernstein believed his store — stocked with thousands of guns, including 200 machine guns — was impenetrable. A pack of seven German shepherds, chain-link fences, reinforced steel doors and 36 surveillance cameras have kept thieves at bay for decades.
But Bernstein’s store was just as vulnerable as dozens of others across Colorado. On the evening of Aug. 27, copycat thieves took his truck, rammed it into the Colorado Springs store’s entrance to create a breach and stole 82 guns, including two machine guns. Based on the success of burglars committing a rash of similar crimes across Colorado in the past year, the burglars had every reason to believe they would get away.
What the burglars didn’t know was that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had formed a task force to go after smash-and-grab gun store thieves aggressively. Task force members swarmed Bernstein’s property within hours of the crime. Task force members arrested suspects and recovered most of the guns before they could be sold to Pueblo street gang members, as intended.
Solving gun store burglaries has become a top ATF priority in Colorado, said William Henderson, assistant special agent in charge of the ATF’s Denver field division. In fact, records show the problem is growing faster in Colorado than in the rest of the country.
Read more at denverpost.com.