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Caught on tape: Thieves steal antique guns from SJC store

January 18, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Caught on camera: Thieves make off with five valuable antique guns from a store in San Juan Capistrano. The surveillance video may lead to the capture of suspects.

Surveillance video shows two men pretending to look at antiques.

A suspect wearing light blue is on his cellphone while another man in a red shirt goes up to a glass case containing antique guns and starts taking photos of the weapons.

It happened about 2 p.m. January 3 at the Old Barn Antique Mall in San Juan Capistrano.

Two hours later, the suspect who was in red has changed to a black leather jacket. Video captures him picking two locks on the cabinet while the other suspect, now in dark blue, acts as a lookout.

"They seem really professional for the way they did it. They left. They came back in different clothes," said Arthur Lichtenstein, co-owner of the Old Barn Antique Mall.

One suspect then reached into the cabinet and removed five antique guns, slipping them into his coat pockets.

Lichtenstein says the guns' value is more than $3,000.

"They were 18th century guns, Smith and Wesson, and some other pieces fairly rare: Pepperbox, open-top Colt, pieces extremely rare," said Lichtenstein.

The suspects even moved merchandise around to hide the space where they stole the guns so the crime wouldn't be noticed right away. The store owners say it took two days before they realized the guns were gone.

One suspect is described as standing 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighing about 150 pounds. The other stands 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighing 160-170 pounds. Both men wore glasses.

The store offers a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the two.

Anyone who is caught buying those stolen guns could be found guilty of receiving stolen property.

If you have information about the case, contact Orange County Crime Stoppers at (855) TIP-OCCS.