Police say two men early Friday morning stole a safe with two dozen firearms inside from a Gainesville apartment complex.
Shortly after 2 a.m., a 77-year-old woman woke up at her Creekwood Apartments residence to find two black males carrying one of two gun safes. The men, police say, had already made off with a safe containing 24 guns belonging to a 63-year-old man who also lives in the apartment. The woman tried to stop one of the men, who then punched her in the face. The men dropped the remaining safe and fled.
Witnesses told police they saw a black male — standing about five feet, five inches to five feet, eight inches tall — with a “short dread twist hairstyle, possibly wearing a white tank top and long black pants,” police said.
The firearms are mostly handguns, according to a police incident report.
The crime becomes one of nearly 50 cases involving firearms that Gainesville police have investigated since 2018 began. Due to that number, Chief Tony Jones earlier this week announced the formation of a “Community Action Team” to investigate and make arrests in those cases.
“This incident that occurred this morning,” Capt. Jorge Campos said, “is yet another example of our trying to get a handle on the illegal possession and illegal use of firearms going on in this city.”
Campos said the Community Action Team, comprised of eight members, allows the department to flood the area and get more leads on these types of crimes. The department is understaffed right now, with a shortage of nearly 30 sworn officers. Still, the new team is a priority for the department.
“As far as answering calls for service, we take the staff we have in other areas of our agency and commit them to answering calls for service for our citizens,” Campos said.
In this case, GPD doesn’t yet have any leads.
“For all we know, the individuals knew that there were safes at the residence, but we don’t know if they knew what was inside of them,” he said.