EDGEWATER, Colo. (CBS4) – Investigators believe a group of criminals is responsible for three different of armed robberies at pawn shops in the Denver metro area.
A $25,000 reward is out for information that leads to an arrest of the suspects.
The Denver office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives released surveillance video this week that shows the suspects stealing several guns from an Edgewater store. The hope is that the video will provoke the public to provide tips in the case.
In the video, which was recorded in October, the masked robbers walk into the pawn shop and force employees and customers to their knees before stealing four assault-style rifles. One of the suspects is seen holding a gun to an employee’s head as he’s forced to empty a safe.
Rasheedah Hobbs, who manages Fast Cash Pawn and Gold Center at 2551 Sheridan Boulevard, told CBS4 the thieves knew exactly where to go in the store. She believes the men may have cased the shop days before.
“They could have been in here. They could have walked around. I could have looked straight at them, talked to them and wouldn’t have known,” she said.
Hobbs says although no one was hurt, the terror the robbers inflicted on her crew is something she thinks about every day.
“I try to come to work positive with an open mind, but it’s a little nerve-racking. It’s scary,” she said.
Authorities said they are now looking for two black men in the Edgewater case. One is 5-foot-9 and thin and was carrying a black handgun. The other is heavy set — 6 feet tall and about 250 pounds.
The ATF believes this was the third time this crew has struck. They were also recorded stealing handguns at a Jumping Jack Pawn Shop in North Denver last July. Another crime took place at Fast Cash Pawn and Pay Day Loan at 7595 East Iliff Avenue in Denver.
It’s believed the criminals have stolen nearly 30 guns so far.
“These criminals are prepared, methodical and ready for a fight, making this situation like a primed powder keg,” said ATF Denver Field Division Special Agent in Charge Ken Croke in a prepared statement.
Federal agents say there has been a dramatic spike in firearm theft in Colorado. A total of 56 were stolen in 2014, but last year the ATF says that number nearly tripled.
The ATF released the following information about this case:
Anyone with information should call their local police department or the ATF Tip Line at 1-800-ATF-GUNS (283-4867).