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1 arrested after 34 guns taken in smash-and-grab burglary

Owner of St. Augustine store estimates $40K in lost inventory, damage

VIDEO: Three burglars stole 34 guns in the smash-and-grab burglary of a St. Augustine gun store, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – One of three suspects accused of stealing 34 guns in a smash-and-grab burglary in St. Augustine has been arrested, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.

Tom Allen, the owner of Top Gun Supply, told News4Jax that two semi-automatic rifles were among the weapons stolen from his gun store on Monday.

Chuck Mulligan, with the Sheriff’s Office, said surveillance video shows three people smashing through a glass door before heading straight for the gun cabinets.

Ronald Lee Salley Jr., 23, of Orlando was arrested in Volusia County Monday afternoon. Deputies said he was seen running from a stolen BMW that matched the description of one seen near the gun store around the time of the burglary.

Police followed the car as it got off I-95 and turned into a neighborhood. Eventually, they used stop sticks and flattened the tires. Officers said Salley threw a gun stolen from Top Gun Supply and ran. But a helicopter pilot kept up with him step-by-step. Salley was caught by investigators and arrested.

A passenger in his car, Hanna Everett, was also arrested. Her 2-year-old daughter, who was in the backseat, was handed over to a familiar adult.

Salley (pictured, right) refused to talk to St. Johns County detectives and is charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, theft of a firearm, car theft, drug possession, eluding police, child abuse and moving offenses. 

Allen said it looked like the thieves knew what they were doing. He said they triggered the alarm, smashed the glass displays and then loaded the guns into duffel bags. He said they were in and out of the store in less than a minute, leaving behind a mess.

“It was like a glass bomb had exploded,” Allen said. “There was literally glass everywhere.”

The guns stolen include 16 9 mm handguns and eight .45-caliber handguns. Allen said between inventory and property damage, he estimates a loss of at least $40,000.

WATCH: Dozens of guns stolen from St. Johns County store

Allen opened his St. Augustine store almost three years ago but has owned his headquarters in Ohio for 14 years.

Allen said he has experienced many false alarms in the past, but this was the first burglary. His biggest fear was somebody getting hurt and he wanted the stolen guns found. He plans to increase security measures to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

“I am very pleased with (the) efforts and coordination of law enforcement. Awesome job!," Allen told News4Jax late Wednesday. 

About the Author:

Florida-born multi-media journalist pays special attention to issues in St. Johns County.