Burglars grab shotguns from Bendigo store

FOUR shotguns valued at more than $11,000 have been taken during a burglary at a Bendigo gun shop.Police say thieves smashed their way through the front door then cut through the high-security mesh gate of A&L Guns in View Street just after 3.30am yesterday.An alarm was activated and the offenders fled after grabbing four Italian Sabatti double-barrelled shotguns.The weapons were locked but not secured to shop fittings.Detective Senior Constable Lloyd Twycross of the crime investigation unit said the guns had retail prices between $2750 and $3375.A&L Guns owner Rodd Flower said the weapons were used for competitive clay target shooting.He believes the thieves were not after a specific weapon.“They just grabbed the closest things they could, and were gone.” Mr Flower said it would have taken some time for the offenders to gain entry, with a double layer of aluminium and a high-security mesh blocking their path.He urged anyone who might find the dumped weapons to call 000.Police said the gun shop burglary was not the only attempt made by the thieves.They were confident the same people were responsible for an attempted break-in at another guns and ammunition store - Hartley’s in Lyttleton Terrace.However, Detective Senior Constable Twycross said the offenders did not gain entry in that case.He said the two crimes were obviously linked.“It appears they were specifically targeting firearms.”It is not known whether the attempt at Hartley’s was made before the burglary at A&L Guns, and police are hoping vigilant residents may be able to help.Anyone who may have seen suspicious activity is urged to contact the CIU on 5448 1370.

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