By Max Hrenda
An unwelcome surprise awaited an Elizabethton couple when they returned home from church Sunday morning.
Melvin and Moira Oliver, who run Blue Springs Gun Shop out of their home at 1200 Blue Springs Road, returned home to discover more than 100 items, including 49 firearms, had been stolen from their store.
In addition to the firearms, 56 boxes of ammunition and $1,000 in cash and checks were reported missing.
Carter County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Ron Street said the high volume of stolen weaponry would make the theft one of the department’s higher priorities.
“This was a large theft,” Street said. “Certainly it will have priority on … looking at it and trying to get these guns off the street and back to the owner.”
With the investigation in its early stages, Street could not say with any certainty if the Olivers were specifically targeted, or if the weapons had been stolen for the purpose of resale.