Stolen Weapons Concern Gun Store Owner

More than a dozen newly stolen handguns are now on the streets of Baton Rouge, and Crime Stoppers needs your help in finding the weapons and the men who stole them in broad daylight. WAFB's Matt Williams reports, one Baton Rouge gun store has seen a spike in such crimes since Hurricane Katrina swept through Louisiana.

Slaton's Firearms is located on Plank Road north of the airport near Brownsfield Elementary School.

Lou Slaton has run this shop for 12 years and says that up until this year, he's had very few problems, but, "Since the hurricanes, I've had five burglaries and one armed robbery."

The armed robbery was the most recent. It happened July 3, and they didn't bother trying at night. They busted in at noon, in broad daylight.

"There were four black males, three or four guns, three that I could see," remembers Slaton. "They came in all of a sudden and had three guns on me before I could do anything."

When they left, they stole his car to make their getaway, but they weren't in it for long.

"They bailed out of the car about five blocks behind my building," Slaton says. "That's when a sheriff's car spotted them.  He saw them run, two different directions, they haven't been caught yet."

Obviously Slaton is a business man. The whole idea is to make money, and when you see the empty cases in his showroom you may think business must be pretty good. Unfortunately, that is not the case here.  This case used to be full of handguns, but every one of them was stolen during the armed robbery.

That has Slaton very worried: 15 handguns and one rifle were stolen that day. He has no doubt they will find their way onto the streets of Baton Rouge.  As for his being a victim, he doesn't plan on that happening again.

"I've beefed up security and I continue to do so," says Slaton. "They surprised me once, but not again."

We won't tell you about all of the added security measures, but they do include video surveillance and a much sturdier door. Unfortunately, they won't help the rest of us in Baton Rouge when those stolen guns make their presence known.

If you think you can help, call Crime Stoppers at 344-STOP. You can remain anonymous, and you could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

Reporter: Matt Williams