Baltimore County police and federal agents continued to search today for two men who robbed a Lansdowne sporting goods store of more than a dozen handguns.
The robbers tied up the owner and threatened to kill him if he didn't cooperate with them, police said.
The robbery occurred about 7:30 a.m. yesterday at Clyde's Sport Shop in the 2300 block of Hammonds Ferry Road. It was the 60th robbery of a gun shop in the past 16 months in Maryland and Virginia, according to agents of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
In the gun shop robberies, about 1,200 firearms have been stolen, agents said. About 10 percent have been recovered.
The 17 handguns taken in yesterday's robbery were valued at between $5,000 and $6,000 and sell for between $400 and $500 each on the legitimate retail market, police said.
But police said that criminals, who desire the best and most powerful handguns, are buying the weapons on the street at twice the retail cost.
Taken in yesterday's robbery were several .38-caliber revolvers, 9mm and 10mm semiautomatic pistols and .357 and .44-caliber Magnums, police said.
Police said no ammunition was taken and no money removed from two cash registers.
Clyde J. Blamberg, the owner of the shop, told police that he opened the shop at 7:30 a.m. and was preparing for a normal business day when a man walked into the store a few minutes later and asked to buy some bloodworms for fishing.
Blamberg told police the man then pulled out a handgun, ordered him to the floor and threatened to blow his head off if he didn't do so.
Police said that after Blamberg went down on the floor, the gunman sprayed his face with a chemical irritant and then tied his hands with leather shoelaces.
Moments later, a second man entered the shop and broke into two gun cases and took the weapons, police said.
Blamberg told police the men were in his store for less than 10 minutes and were selective in their choice of handguns.
After the robbery, Blamberg said he would change his routine of opening the store, including having another employee accompany him into the store each morning.
Of the major gun shop robberies committed in the area, two resulted in deaths.
In September, the owner of a gun shop in the 7800 block of Belair Road in Baltimore County was killed by one of two gunmen who robbed his store of a large quantity of weapons. A customer was wounded.
Several men were eventually captured and charged with various crimes stemming from that incident.
In October, two elderly female owners of a gun shop in Havre de Grace in Harford County were fatally shot by someone who robbed their store of several handguns and money. No arrest has been made in that case.