MAPLE LAWN, Md. (WJZ) — Smash-and-grab break-ins at gun stores are on the rise nationwide.

Thieves use vehicles to get inside the stores and take as many weapons as they can- fleeing the scene in a matter of minutes. The stolen guns are lucrative on the black market.

The latest two cases happened right here in Maryland. The same suspects allegedly broke into Fox’s Firearms in Maple Lawn and United Gun Shop in Rockville.

“Even with all of the security measures in place, which were the right ones, they were still able to make their way into the store,”  Howard County Police Department Spokesperson Sherry Llewellyn said.

According to court records, 21-year-old Terrence Massey was out on bail and facing felony gun charges when police say he and a 15-year-old from Glen Burnie rammed a stolen van into Fox’s Firearms in Howard County and stole 18 guns- 14 of which are still missing.

“We have experts that are working to try to figure out what the trail of those weapons might have been,” Llewellyn said.

Police say the next morning, the same suspects slammed a Subaru into the United Gun Store in Rockville and stole more weapons- 10 of those guns have not been found.

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Officials say the suspects — all from Anne Arundel County — tried to run over a responding officer who shot and killed one of them.

Police were able to connect the two break-ins because of guns found at the Rockville scene.

“It’s not something that we see very often and that’s why we knew pretty quickly that these were connected,” Llewellyn said.

The same Rockville gun store was broken into two years ago when suspects were caught on camera making off with multiple weapons.

The owner was alerted to the latest break-in, and according to court records, communicated with the suspects through his security system, warning police were on the way.

The suspects in this case will make court appearances later this week.

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