ABILENE, Texas - Abilene police are investigating the theft of thousands of rounds of ammunition taken from a local store and pawned.
According to police, a total of 6,650 rounds of ammo of various calibers valued at $3,466 were stolen from Academy Sports and Outdoors in a string of thefts that began in mid-December. As of Friday, no arrests have been made but police have five suspects, including three Academy employees.
Officers could not comment on the current employment status of the three employees and Academy also declined comment.
Police began their investigation in early January after they were tipped off to some young men attempting to pawn a portion of the ammo.
Detective Rusty Antilley is leading the investigation and said he soon learned the theft was not an isolated incident and the investigation quickly became complicated.
"The investigation led me to another subject who was actually employed at Academy," Antilley said. "There ended up being two pawn shops where we recovered some stolen ammunition."
Through the course of the investigation, Antilley learned there had been five occasions of theft and four to five visits to the pawn shops since mid-December.
Though three of the five suspects are Academy employees, Antilley said the other two are not related to either Academy or to the pawn shops.
"The level of punishment is going to be different for each subject based on their particular level of involvement in the overall theft," Antilley said. "They're all going to be charged with varying degrees of felonies."
Antilley said the case is one of organized retail theft and the felony charges range from state jail to third degree felonies. State jail felonies carry a maximum punishment of two years in a state jail and third degree felonies can carry from two to ten years in prison.
To protect the ongoing investigation, police cannot name the pawn shops at this time.
Antilley said the investigation is close to completion and he expects to turn the case over to the Taylor County District Attorney's office by the end of the month. The case will eventually go to a grand jury which will determine if there is enough evidence to make arrests.