Fort Bragg, N.C. — A Spring Lake gun shop was temporarily closed Monday after an overnight burglary in which a Fort Bragg soldier with the 82nd Airborne allegedly stole more than $68,000 worth of guns, ammunition and accessories.
A handwritten note attached to yellow crime scene tape outside Guns Plus on North Bragg Boulevard read: "Guns Plus will be closed for the day due to scumbags breaking in. But we caught them."
Cumberland County sheriff's deputies arrested Spc. William David Devane, 28, of 8961 Ardennes Road, who they found hiding early Monday morning on top of an old truck parked in heavy brush next door to the business.
A heavy-vehicle truck driver assigned to the Airborne's 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Devane was being held Monday in the Cumberland County Detention Center under a $50,000 secured bond on charges of felony breaking and entering, felony larceny of firearms and possession of stolen firearms.
A public affairs officer with the 82nd Airborne said Devane returned from deployment in Iraq in November after a six-month mission.
"Usually, the people that commit robberies are people who are jobless or on hard times, or something like that," the shop's owner, Chris Hatley, said. "I don't usually take it too personally, but to have a military guy break in – it's a little personal."
Hatley said someone pried open a metal roll-up door covering the store's entrance around 2:45 a.m. and used a chunk of concrete to break the glass door.
Once inside, the thief broke another window to get to nine semi-automatic rifles, seven semi-automatic handguns, ammunition, gun sights and several weapon magazines among other items. Authorities said they recovered all the guns.
Considering the amount of items stolen, Hatley said he believes the thief might have had an accomplice.
"All the guns he went after were the most expensive," Hatley said. "This guy's probably been in my store a hundred times. He knew exactly where to go. He probably knew where stuff was better than my employees do sometimes."
An employee said Devane had been in the store looking around on Sunday.
A spokeswoman for the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office said she was not aware of any accomplices and she could not say what Devane might have been planning to do with the guns.
Hatley said he can only speculate.
"Guns like this, when they are stolen, are worth more than going into a jewelry store and robbing a bank," he said.