Sheriff reveals name of one of suspects connected to gun heist - WNCT

Sheriff reveals name of one of suspects connected to gun heist

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19-year-old Joshua Wade Ray 19-year-old Joshua Wade Ray
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ELIZABETHTON, TN (WJHL) - More than 45 stolen guns are now off the streets, found in a Carter County storage unit.

It took a two week undercover operation and the help of the public to crack this case.

Two teens have been arrested and Sheriff Chris Mathes said the burglary was not spur of the moment, but planned out in detail.

"If someone is planning on robbing you, regardless of what you do, they are going to rob you," said Blue Springs Gun Shop owner Melvin Oliver.

On December 1st, Oliver had 49 guns, ammunition and cash stolen.

"They staked this store out for weeks. Even went into the store and bought some ammunition and plotted this whole burglary in detail," said Sheriff Mathes.

It was a Sunday and Oliver and his wife were at church.

Oliver told News Channel 11, "it's frustrating that you can't even go to church without somebody breaking into your house. It's very, very sad."

The Carter County Sheriff's Office had every deputy working on this case. They also called in the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation as well as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

"We were able to purchase one of the guns which led to a second purchase, undercover purchase, of 6 guns," said Sheriff Mathes.

Until an arrest was made, many in Carter County felt uneasy.

"Well, you'd hate to think would be responsible for hurting someone and not knowing who got it that did cross my mind," said Oliver.

Two people have been arrested, a 17-year-old and Joshua Wade Ray, 19, both of Elizabethon. At this time the pair is charged with Aggravated Burglary and Theft over $10,000.

Sheriff Mathes told News Channel 11 there are still more guns out there and possibly other suspects.

"(We) identified some guns from other burglaries," said Sheriff Mathes, "we think we're going to be able to clear up two other burglaries.

The case is still under investigation.

Investigators said they have evidence that the two teens went and shot some of the stolen guns.

The 17-year-old in this case was in court Monday. Sheriff Mathes said he is hoping that teen will be tried as an adult.

A week ago we told you that there was a $3,000 reward which someone may get to earn because of the tip, but at this time the sheriff said the tipster wants to remain anonymous.



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