Burglars take multiple firearms in Swansea Rural King burglary

SWANSEA — In a burglary very similar to one late last year in Centralia, a pair of burglars targeted guns during an overnight break-in at a farm supply store in Swansea.

Swansea Police Chief Mike Arnold tells the Belleville News-Democrat that officers were able to get to the store in a matter of seconds. But when they arrived, the crooks were already gone.

Arnold said guns are a “hot commodity” among thieves. But he wouldn’t speculate whether he thought the suspects were experienced gun thieves.

Arnold says that around 10:51 p.m. Monday, the suspects smashed through the front glass door of the Swansea Rural King and were in and out of the store quickly, taking with them a number of handguns.

The federal bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has been called in to assist with the investigation.

Police declined to release surveillance video or photographs from the store. Arnold said they may be released later if it is determined they have value in asking the public to help identify the suspects. But Arnold said that seemed unlikely because the suspects were wearing masks that or something similar over their faces that kept them well concealed.

Arnold said police also plan to check with other business for security video that may show the burglars outside the store or with their vehicle.

The ATF was called in for a similar case in December when a pair of teens from Centralia allegedly stole 39 guns taken from Buchheit Farm and Supply in Centralia.

Both of the suspects in that case were quickly captured and are in custody facing federal charges.