HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – A suspect attempted to burglarize Elite Firearms, located on 3120 Waccamaw Blvd., in the Carolina Forest area Sunday at around 12:30 a.m., according to an Horry County Police Department report.
Police said the suspect was successful in getting the first door open, but wasn't able to go any further.
According to the report, police observed the damaged door and the lock on the pavement a few feet away.
Police were not able to get any fingerprints from off the door, but were able to watch video footage of the incident.
A review of video footage from the front camera of the store showed a black male with a brown jacket, blue jeans, and multi-colored sneakers. The suspect appeared to be scoping out the business before the incident.
While the suspect was able to get through the back door of Elite Firearms, owners said that is as far as he was able to get.
"They popped the lock out and they wedged in through here," said Yonnie Wakine, co-owner of Elite Firemarms, while showing a WMBF News crew the damage to the back door. "Well we had to replace the door. We did that yesterday (Monday), they broke the frame, the door itself. We went back there; you can see where they tried to pry through it. "So this bent, and the frame that was around it was taken out."
Waknine got a message from the store's security company around 12:30 a.m. Sunday, followed by a phone call.
"I told them, 'Hey I'm reading the message. I know what's going on. No one should be there. Please send the police right away,'" he said.
While he never expected the store to become a target so soon, since Elite Firearms had expanded to the Waccamaw Boulevard Location just three months ago, Waknine relates it to the guns he sells.
"So it's the same thing with our business, and same thing with anybody's business or your home," he said. "You never know when someone is trying to come in, but you want to be prepared in case something does happen."
Though Waknine is confident in the store's security measures, the back door has already been replaced.
"We went ahead and we upgraded. We got a much stronger door made of solid, complete steel," he said. "Like, if I wanted to come in through the back, I would not be able to as a store owner. I would have to come around to the front."
While Waknine knows he got lucky, he said this close call reinforces just how worth it is to lock up every single gun before he leaves for the night.
"It's definitely strengthened the idea that everything needs to be locked up at any given time," he said.