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Gun-shop burglars thwarted after ramming store with van

August 29, 2011 |  3:35 pm

Map shows approximate location of incident in black and recent crime reports in brown and red. Click for more details on The Times' interactive Crime L.A. project.

Burglars used a stolen Chevy van to ram the doors of a Cerritos gun shop in the early hours of Monday morning, but security measures thwarted their efforts to get away with an arsenal of guns and ammunition, Los Angeles County sheriff's officials said.

When deputies arrived at Ammo Bros about 4:40 a.m. after reports of a vehicle plowing into the store on the 15000 block of Piuma Avenue, they discovered that it was not a simple traffic accident. 

The blue-and-white 1984 Chevrolet van, reported stolen Saturday evening from Bellflower, was used as a battering ram for would-be thieves to break into the store in an attempt to steal firearms and ammunition, investigators said. But detectives said the store owners were aware of the potential for such a theft and had taken extraordinary security measures to protect their store and merchandise. Bars and protective casings kept the burglars from accessing the firearms, authorities said.

As a result, the suspects were not able to enter the store or steal anything. “The suspects were presumably targeting firearms, and detectives are actively investigating the incident,” said Lt. Richard Harpham. “Had this been successful and the guns ended up in the hands of criminals, they would present an inherent danger to the public.” 

Detectives believe the crime was committed by two or three men who fled the scene in a gray sedan and champagne-colored Ford Excursion. Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact detectives at Cerritos Station (562) 860-0044. If you prefer to provide information anonymously, call "Crime Stoppers" by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477), or texting the letters TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637). 

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-- Richard Winton

Map: Shows approximate location of incident in black and recent crime reports in brown and red. Credit: Los Angeles Times

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