Pawn Shop Gun Thefts Threaten Safety, Neighbors Say

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A thief walks away from a pawn shop with an AK-47 rifle, and now neighborhood groups are calling for change.

It happened at the Smart Pawn store at 63rd and Troost Avenue Tuesday afternoon around 4 p.m. The surveillance video shows the suspect wandering the store and then jumping the counter and leaving with the stolen semiautomatic AK-47-style assault rifle. A store employee thought the suspect jumped on a bus so police pulled the bus over and searched everyone but came up empty-handed.

Chris Jones, President of the nearby Troost Avenue Lawn Neighborhood Association, was dismayed by the news.

“If you just say that out loud it sounds ridiculous and you wouldn’t think it would happen in your neighborhood,” Jones said, “sounds like something I saw in a movie and it actually happened very close to where I live.”

Unlike many neighbors he says he wasn’t upset when Smart Pawn first opened a year ago.

“I’m all for free enterprise and a business setting up so I gave them the benefit of the doubt that they could properly sell their product in a way that doesn’t pose a risk to their community,” he said.

But this recent theft is now the third time guns have been stolen from Smart Pawn in the last year, including a theft in October where thieves emptied the gun cabinets. A Smart Pawn manager told FOX 4 that corporate is looking at ways to improve security.

Last year, Smart Pawn told the media “We also share the community’s concerns about access to firearms by theft” and said the new store would be protected with state of the art alarms and security.

But that’s not good enough for several neighborhood groups who are now working together to contact city hall, voicing concerns about safety in their neighborhood.

“Smart Pawn has been given a hall pass for the last year and we’d been waiting for them to get their act together,” said Jones.  “We were afraid this would happen and it is happening and happened three times now. It’s time for something to move something to happen.”

Neighborhood groups plan to talk to city hall to ask them to get involved with both Smart Pawn and the landlord Block and Company to find out what can be done about this problem.

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