LOPATCONG — Three dozen handguns were stolen from a Warren County gun store.

Prosecutor James Pfeifer believes the firearms are already on the street and will contribute to gun violence in the region.

Thieves kicked the door in and got into the Tech Ops International Gun Shop on 5th Street off Route 22 sometime Tuesday night after it closed between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. Wednesday morning, according to Pfeiffer.

A video device outside the building was disabled. A display case where the 9mm weapons were displayed was smashed.

Pfeiffer said that the weapons were displayed and stored properly within the store.

The wholesale value of what is known to be missing so far is $36,000 wholesale and almost $70,000 retail. No bullets were missing from the one-story brick-front building where the store is located.

Investigators try to identify burglars

Investigators are looking at surveillance video from neighboring homes and businesses in order to identify the burglars. The ATF's Newark office is also involved in the investigation.

Pfeiffer said he's lived in Warren County his entire life and has not heard of a gun shop being burglarized in recent years.

The prosecutor's biggest concern is where the guns will wind up and how they'll be used.

"They were taken and illegally stolen. They're going to end up on the black market, they're going to end up on our streets and they're going to be involved with other criminal activity. Unfortunately, people are going to be killed as a result of this," Pfeiffer said. "We suspect those guns are going to end up on the street immediately."

Pfeiffer asked anyone with information about the burglary to call his office at 908-475-6275, Lopatcong police at 908-859-2211 or ATF at 973-413-1179.

Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dan.alexander@townsquaremedia.com

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