Bellevue Police make arrest in theft of 72 firearms during smash and grab burglary


Yesterday morning at 5:00 a.m., Bellevue Police investigators, assisted by members of the Bellevue Police SWAT team, arrested a suspect in connection with a December 26th burglary of a Bellevue gun store. The suspect, a 17 year-old juvenile male who resides in Kent, WA, is also suspected in at least two other similar burglaries in the area.

On December 26th, three suspects used a stolen vehicle to ram through the front doors of the West Coast Armory in Bellevue. The suspects stole 72 firearms and one silencer. Investigators learned that the suspects were wearing the same clothing as the suspects in the burglary of a marijuana store in Bothell on December 13th in which a stolen vehicle was also used to ram through the doors of the business. 

Armed with this connection, as well as other additional evidence, investigators were able to locate the suspect, who was the passenger in a stolen vehicle being driven in Auburn. When the suspect was arrested, the vehicle he was found in had the same license plates as whose that were seen on the stolen vehicle used in the Bothell marijuana store Robbery. A stolen handgun was found at the suspect's feet when he was arrested. That handgun had been stolen from Renton in a separate theft.

The suspect was booked into King County juvenile detention for investigation of burglary in the second degree, theft of a firearm, possession of a stolen firearm, possession of a stolen vehicle, and possession of MDMA with intent to deliver. The other four occupants of the vehicle were also arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle, however they are not believed to be involved in the Bellevue burglary case.

The investigation in this case continues, and additional arrests are possible in the future. 

BELLEVUE, Wash. -- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) says the surveillance video above shows thieves using a stolen vehicle to smash-in the door of the West Coast Armory gun shop in Bellevue early Tuesday morning -- the day after Christmas -- to make off with approximately 70 firearms.

The ATF and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) -- the trade association for the firearms industry -- announced a reward Friday for
information leading to the arrest and conviction of the persons responsible for the December 26th  burglary. The ATF is offering a reward of up to $5,000, matched by the NSSF for a possible reward of up to $10,000. To be eligible for the reward, you must contact The ATF at:

    Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound is also offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to arrests in the case. You must contact Crime Stoppers with your tip through the P3 Tips App, or 1-800-222-TIPS(8477) telephone hotline to be eligible to receive the $1,000 cash reward for information leading to an arrest. It's anonymous.

    Bellevue Police say just after 3am on Tuesday, a garbage truck driver heard the alarm at West Coast Armory and saw the door had been smashed-in. The suspects were gone when police got there.

    Bellevue Police believe there were three suspects who fled in what was later determined to be a stolen vehicle.

    Bellevue Police later tweeted that officers had recovered the suspect vehicle and it was being processed for evidence. The ATF says the The vehicle had been abandoned in a nearby apartment complex and other suspects may have been involved in helping the three flee the scene.

    The ATF says the three suspects wore hooded sweatshirts and/or jackets, gloves and face coverings.

    Of the approximately 70 firearms stolen, the ATF says the vast majority were handguns, but four semiautomatic rifles were taken, as well as one short-barreled rifle and a sound suppressor, sometimes known as a “silencer.”

    Ofc. Tyler said there was also a break-in previously at the same place in which four guns were taken. Three of those were recovered, he said. They don’t believe the two robberies are related.

    West Coast Armory