Two people wearing ski masks and driving a stolen utility truck ripped the door off the ArchAngel Gunsmithing and Outfitters store in Newberry early Friday morning and stole more than $13,000 in items including five firearms.
According to co-owner Casey Mason, who spoke with Mainstreet Daily News at the shop on Saturday, she and husband Lee Mason had just checked on the store on their way home from a Thanksgiving celebration with family.
Ten minutes later, their security company notified them that the door had been opened.
When the couple returned, they discovered the door off the hinges and five firearms including four assault rifles and one hunting rifle stolen from the store, according to Alachua County Sheriff's Office (ACSO) reports.
On Saturday, the couple opened up the shop but were still unsettled by the experience. They said they had their children with them when they were first checking on the store on their way home.
"It could have ended a lot worse," Casey said about the family narrowly missing the robbery in progress.
The Masons alerted the ACSO of the break-in. Casey said deputies said the thieves had stolen the utility truck from a hydraulics company in Bradford, then allegedly robbed a vehicle in High Springs before trying the same tow rope technique on a freestanding ATM before arriving at the gun shop in Newberry.
The thieves also stole construction equipment such as a rotary lift pedal, hydraulic lift pumps, and miscellaneous items valued at more than $4,000.
Casey reported that the ACSO deputies said the truck was then parked on Williston Road and set on fire.
Newberry Mayor Jordan Marlowe decried the theft in a Facebook post.
"This is terrible! This family just finished renovating this historic building," Marlow wrote. "This isn’t some big box store. This is a small, family owned business. The owner is a Veteran, and they have made Newberry their home. If you can, let’s help them make it through this!"
On Monday night two robbers also wearing ski masks robbed a Family Dollar in Archer. No connection has been established at this time.
Editor's note: This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.