2 more arrested in string of gun store robberies

Police came another step closer this week to solving a string of weapons thefts from local gun stores after recovering one of 42 handguns stolen from the Vandalia Range & Armory.

A total of 77 weapons — including 33 from the Miami Armory and two from Beavercreek’s Palmer Firearms — were taken after break-ins in early August. Local and federal officers arrested two people Aug. 11 after a raid on a house on Marsha Lane.

Dayton police officers on Wednesday afternoon arrested 19-year-old Larry Oneal Jr. and 20-year-old Nathan Wilson on gun and drug charges. The officers responded to a report of a woman saying a man in a car was pointing a gun at her on Faulkner Avenue.

When officers arrived, they noticed a vehicle that fit the description parked next to a vacant lot with two men standing next to the car, according to a police report. The report said when Wilson and Oneal noticed the police walking toward them, they started to walk away from the car.

As one officer approached them, the other walked to the car and was overwhelmed by the odor of marijuana. The officers then noticed a bag containing numerous gel capsules of what appeared to be cocaine and a .45 semi-automatic pistol. A bag of marijuana and a 9 mm pistol was near a fence line, the report said.

The report said Oneal admitted that the .45 semi-automatic pistol, stolen from the Vandalia store, was his. It was loaded with 14 rounds of “Blazer” round-nose .45 bullets with 13 rounds in the magazine and one round in the chamber. The 9 mm pistol was loaded with nine bullets in the magazine and one in the chamber. Police seized weapons, along with drugs, money and cell phones.

Wilson, who said the 9 mm was his, admitted to police that he threw the gun when he saw officers and that he sells heroin and doesn’t have a job.

A Dayton police spokeswoman said the case is assigned to a detective, but that it is still under investigation so officials won’t comment on specifics.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) wouldn’t say what was found in the raid on Marsha Lane or the names of suspects until their investigation is complete, but that guns were still on the street.

“It definitely worries me when there’s stolen guns out here that we need to find,” said Tiara Britt of Dayton. “You never know where they’re going to end up and who’s hands they could be in.”

The ATF has partnered with the National Shooting Sports Foundation — the trade association for the firearms industry — to offer a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of gun thieves.

The first burglary occurred Aug. 5, early in the morning, at the Vandalia Range and Armory. A total of 42 handguns were taken. On Friday, Aug. 7, detectives believe the same suspects broke in to Palmer Firearms in Beavercreek and stole 2 semi-automatic rifles. Early in the morning Aug. 8, investigators said the thieves hit again — this time stealing 33 handguns from The Miami Armory in Miami Township.

Each break-in was recorded by video surveillance cameras.

Agents released the video hoping the public might help identify the burglars.

Anyone with information on the burglaries is asked to contact ATF at 1-800-ATF-GUNS (800-283-4867). The agency said all calls will be kept confidential.

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