Nine of the 10 firearms stolen from Shooters of Columbus on Nov. 24 were found in the suspect’s vehicle, according to testimony Wednesday in Columbus Recorder’s Court.
Devante Tashard Patterson, 23, pleaded not guilty to two counts of burglary and one count each of possession of tools in the commission of a crime and attempted burglary. He was ordered held in the Muscogee County Jail under bonds totaling $27,500.
Judge Julius Hunter bound the case over to Superior Court.
Columbus Police Detective Jason Carden said the Shooters of Columbus business at 4527 Milgen Road was targeted three times in November. Surveillance video of each incident shows the same suspect.
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On Nov. 2, the suspect used bolt cutters to break into the garage door near the shooting range, causing $2,600 worth of damage to the building. He ran off with $400 in cash.
Three days later, that same man tried to use bolt cutters to break the chain on the garage door. Two employees were in the business at the time.
"When they heard the chain being rattled, they came out the front door with their own personal weapon and the person left the scene,” Carden said.
Officials said surveillance video shows that man returning to the business on Nov. 24 and stealing 10 firearms worth about $12,000, including pistols and rifles. There was about $1,200 worth of damage to the business.
Carden said authorities worked with the Alabama Trade Commission to search for the suspect. They told the pawnshops in the area to keep an eye out for anyone purchasing ammunition or magazines for the stolen weapons.
“They were unique firearms,” Carden told the court. “They were mostly European-made firearms. Those type of magazines stand out.”
An individual with the Cash American Pawn Shop on Victory Drive told police on Nov. 24 that there was a man in the business trying to purchase magazines for the stolen firearms. He was later identified as Patterson.
Police asked him if he was trying to purchase those magazines. He initially denied that he was, but changed his statement when police informed him that the pawnshop said otherwise.
He went on to say that some man down the street sent him in the store to buy them. He said the man was waiting outside of the door.
“Of course when we got there, there was nobody waiting outside of the business,” Carden said.
Police said Patterson was dressed in black and white shoes and gray jogging pants, the same clothing the burglar was seen wearing in the video of the Nov. 24 incident.
Officials said they found a rifle on the front passenger seat of Patterson’s vehicle along with a camouflage jacket and black gloves. The suspect was wearing that same clothing in the video.
Officials found nine of the stolen weapons in the Patterson’s car. They have yet to recover the other firearms, Carden told the court.