A raid that saw 140 paintball guns stolen from a Stanwell Tops skirmish centre was well-organised and involved significant manpower, the business owner says.
The guns went missing from a remote storage facility off Lawrence Hargrave Drive some time in the past two weeks while the business, Ultimate Skirmish, was closed.
Owner Terry Marousis believes thieves cut the power supply at the top of the property, then used crowbars to break through several layers of steel casing.
Paintball guns are registered firearms, each with their own serial number. The conditions of their storage were regularly inspected by state firearms authorities, Mr Marousis said.
“The guns weren’t just lying around inside,” he said. “The [theft] was organised – this was not kids. I can’t see that it was [done by] two blokes. I reckon it was 10 blokes because there was a lot of work to be done.”
Also stolen were 120 gas canisters – each weighing about one kilogram – 15 boxes of paint-ball ammunition, six hand-held radios; and 11 protective helmets.
Mr Marousis estimates the centre will be out of business for a month. He said insurance would not cover the full cost of his losses.
He is hoping customers will be willing to transfer their games to a sister site at Milperra in the meantime.
The thieves’ motives remain a mystery.
“They’re either going to start some underground business or goodness knows what they’re going to do with them,” Mr Marousis said.
The stolen markers were .68 calibre Tippmann Pro-Carbine paint-ball guns, bought from the USA about 13 years ago.
Police are urging anyone with information about the theft to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.