According to data from the agency, gun shop burglaries have risen more than 70 percent since 2013 and the number of firearms stolen has more than doubled, up almost 134 percent during the same period.
It's part of the reason the ATF has prioritized investigations of gun shop burglaries like the one at the Double Action Indoor Range and Archery in Upper Darby.
"These guys knew what they were doing and were able to get in through the roof," said Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood.
Authorities said four men left behind a porter cable circular saw that they used to cut a hole in the roof of the building.
"It seems like they knew where to go to avoid the cameras," said Chitwood.
It happened around 1:30 a.m. Monday.
Police said the thieves made off with 22 handguns: 11 Rugers, 8 Smith & Wessons as well as others.
The gun shop is located in an industrial park that is pretty desolate at the time when the burglary took place.
Further, the thieves managed to carry off the heist without tripping the alarm system.
"This was specifically targeted, this wasn't, 'Oh, we just did a burglary and we came upon a gun store.' This was geared toward that gun store, no doubt in my mind," said Chitwood.
Austin Nester takes his son to archery practice at the facility, a place that is frequently used by law enforcement types as a practice range.
"You know they're not going anywhere good," said Nester of the stolen guns.
Authorities said gun shops are increasingly being targeted because thieves are realizing there are a lot of guns in one place as opposed to having to find one on a street corner or in a dark alley.
ATF said the majority of the stolen guns more often than not end up in the same or nearby metro area as where the theft occurred.
"It's very concerning," said Chitwood. "I mean you put 22 guns that are capable of firing hundreds of rounds of ammunition in the hands of some bums, which obviously they are, it's concerning."
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