DECATUR — A Decatur auctioneer said he is left feeling sad and angry after the theft of nine consigned firearms that were scheduled to be auctioned Saturday.
And Cody Redman has come up with 5,000 reasons why he thinks he can persuade someone to unload clues that will lead to the recovery of the stolen weapons, which include pistols, shotguns and one antique shotgun.
Redman, who owns Cody Redman Auctioneer Service, is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the thieves and recovery of the weapons.
“I’m not going to stand for this,” said Redman, 32, speaking Thursday. “The reward is probably higher or equal to the value of the firearms, but we’re sending a message here: You don’t want to come and target us in the future.”
The guns were stolen the evening of July 6 from Redman’s auction center at 2102 Northwest Illinois 121. They were kept in a gun safe which Redman said was drilled open to get at the weapons. He said the thieves ignored computers and other equipment and just went straight for the firearms, which makes him believe they broke in specifically to steal them.
Redman said he tried posting messages via Facebook at first, telling the thieves they could bring the guns back, “no harm, no foul.” Now, he said, he hopes the reward will persuade those in the know to talk.
The theft is being investigated by the Macon County Sheriff’s Office, and Lt. Jamie Belcher said the big reward could help. He also mentioned that Crime Stoppers — (217) 423-8477 (TIPS) — pays cash rewards for information that leads to the solving of crimes.
But Belcher fears the guns, difficult to unload on the legitimate market, are destined for the black market.
“We don’t see thefts of this size every day, and it’s not law-abiding citizens who collect guns this way,” he said.
Redman said the guns’ serial numbers have been circulated to pawn shops, and Belcher said anyone buying one of the weapons would lose it if its history is uncovered.
“And we would obviously investigate the story the ‘honest citizen’ provided to us to make sure they were unaware it was stolen when they bought it,” he said.
Redman said he has since stepped up security at his auction house, adding 22 additional surveillance cameras and a new and much tougher gun safe. Saturday’s auction, which still features guns, will go ahead at 2 p.m. as planned.
“We’re not going to stop selling guns,” Redman said. “And we’re not going to let an isolated event deter us.”