VAIL, Iowa (KTIV) -- Crawford County, Iowa authorities are on the lookout for at least 40 firearms that are missing after a gun shop break-in. With more than $25,000 worth of firearms on the street, officials are concerned the guns could be in the wrong hands.
Iron bars on the windows and door at Pete's Gun Shop in Vail, Iowa, couldn't stop a thief.
"Forty-one. Forty-one firearms were stolen out of this building," says owner Rodney Bell.
Between 3:00, Sunday afternoon, and 11:00 Monday morning, someone broke in through an air vent in the back of the building. A neighboring business owner noticed the missing vent, and called it in.
"This is a federal crime and it's a serious thing," Bell said.
"It kind of scares us in this area of having that many guns out on the street," said Crawford County Sheriff James Steinkuehler.
Steinkuehler says he and his officers are still looking for leads, but they have their ideas.
"I believe it's somebody who's driven by the store, knew it was there and may have been inside there," Steinkuehler said. "Somebody directly went in. They knew it was a gun shop, they knew what they wanted."
Most of the stolen firearms were smaller in size, like revolvers and pistols. That's what has the store's owner worried.
"If I was a drug guy or in a gang, I'd want something I could put in my pocket and haul around," Bell said.
But, Bell says he's reassured because every one of his guns is registered. So if any of them are confiscated in another crime, they'll be traced back to the burglary. The whole incident, though, has him thinking twice about safety in a small town. He's already working to better secure his business, eliminating the air vent.
"This is small town America and you can trust your neighbors and friends and even though, I don't think this was done by my neighbors and friends, it still throws an element of distrust into you," Bell said.
The ATF and Crawford County Sheriff's Department are offering a $4,000 reward, for information leading to an arrest. If you have any information, call the sheriff's department at (712) 263-2146.