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Collector's items among 16 guns stolen from shop

Sixteen handguns worth a total $2,100 were stolen Tuesday from a Port Richey gun shop. An unknown number of suspects entered Jasmine Guns and Tackle at 11134 U.S. 19 by breaking the glass in the front door. A gun case also was broken and the guns inside were taken, according to a Pasco County Sheriff's Office report.

About 7 a.m., Linda Fong Tang, the owner of Chinese Acupuncture Clinic next to Jasmine Guns and Tackle, arrived at work and noticed the door to the gun shop was broken. She then called the gun shop owner, Fred Mielke, who notified the Sheriff's Office.

The store's alarm system failed to work, and a video camera that was on showed no evidence of the burglary, the report stated.

Mielke declined to comment.

All 16 of the weapons were older-model handguns. Among them were replicas of collector's items, such as two .45-caliber Rugers and a .45-caliber Thompson/Center.

The guns are most often used by hobbyists or members of gun clubs, said Cliff O'Neal, the manager of Wain Roberts Firearms, another local gun shop.

"Either they didn't know what they were getting, or they knew exactly what they wanted," said O'Neal, who thinks the guns were most likely stolen for personal use because they have little street use and are difficult to pawn.

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