Lori Fullbright and Staff Reports, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- Burglars hit a Tulsa business late Thursday or early Friday and cleaned out more than $200,000 worth of tools along with a gun safe containing four guns according to Tulsa Police.
Tulsa Police say 6 guns were inside the stolen gun safe. They include a German pistol, two Winchester rifles and 3 World War II machine guns. Authorities believe the guns were not the target of the burglars, but rather saw the safe and decided to take it along with the tools.
Creitz Automotive was started by Bob Creitz, who died six weeks ago of cancer at the age of 81. He was well known in the drag racing world and had built his own plane and was considered to be a meticulous engine man. He also collected historic guns as a hobby.
ATF agents believe the thieves who broke the front window Friday morning, were primarily after the mechanic's tools inside the shop. Steve Moore has managed the shop for the past 21 years and was just sick when he saw what they'd done.
"They basically cleaned us out, took every hand took, every scanner, kicked in every locked door there was. They could've done a lot more damage, but they stole every tool they possibly could," Moore said.
While they were kicking in those doors, they found a gun safe. The ATF says the thieves tried to open it there and when they couldn't, they loaded it and all the tools into Steve's Ford van and took off. And the timing couldn't be worse.
"We have all these deadlines today, to get out today and we can't get anything done. We don't have any tools. All the mechanics will have to buy all brand new tools," Moore said.
In June, a hangar at the Jones Airport belonging to Creitz caught fire and it couldn't be put out quickly because ammunition was going off inside, and now this. Workers don't have much hope it'll have a happy ending.
"We'll never see the stuff again. It'll end up in pawn shops and stuff, we'll never see it again," Moore said.
Steve Moore believes whoever did it had been in the shop before and knew how to defeat the alarm system, because he set it Thursday night around 8:00, but it didn't go off during the break-in.
There is surveillance video that police are using in their investigation. They're hoping since the guns are old and unique, someone will notice if the thieves try to sell them.