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Santa Barbara SWAT team searches Far West Gun

Paul Wellman

Santa Barbara SWAT team searches Far West Gun


SWAT Team Searching State Street Gun Shop

UPDATE: Police Find Hole in Roof but No Suspects; No Guns Appear Missing


Originally published 9:08 a.m., March 28, 2013
Updated 5:00 p.m., March 28, 2013

[UPDATE, 5:00 p.m.]: When the Santa Barbara SWAT team entered Far West Gun & Supply this morning they found no suspects but discovered a large hole had been cut in the business's roof. It's not clear if the burglars actually dropped into the gun shop or were scared off by its robust security system, explained Sgt. Riley Harwood.

Harwood said an alarm sounded at the store at 4:03 a.m. and first responders were on the scene by 4:05 a.m. There were indications the suspect or suspects may have still been inside, so the SWAT unit and crisis negotiation team were called in at around 6 a.m. They established a perimeter, closed off area streets, and eventually made entry but — after searching the store, its crawl space, the crawl space it shares with nearby businesses, and those businesses themselves — found no one. The response was swift and large because of the merchandise Far West sells, said Harwood.

The gun store has been burglarized in the past, so its owners had installed a FlashFog Security System which, when activated, fills a room with light smoke within 20-30 seconds and triggers strobe lights. The effect is highly disorienting, confusing suspects and giving workers time to escape in a robbery situation.

Harwood said it doesn't appear any guns were taken from Far West, and that its owner is conducting an extensive stock check to confirm nothing is missing. Detectives continue to investigate the incident.

[ORIGINAL REPORT]: A Santa Barbara police SWAT team and K-9 unit are currently searching a gun store at Mission and State Street.

Sgt. Riley Harwood, a spokesman for the police department, said officers who responded to an audible burglar alarm just after 4 a.m. found “some indication that someone may be inside” Far West Gun & Supply at 2009 State Street.

Given the heightened concern that the business was a gun shop, authorities called in the SWAT team and also blocked off streets in a one block radius of the store.

Harwood said there was a possibility, but he could not be certain, that someone was inside.

Because Far West is adjacent to several businesses, there is a likelihood it shares a common crawl space, Harwood said, so it may take some time to search.

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