An 81-year-old gun shop owner believed he’d die after masked people kidnapped him and compelled him back to his store where over 100 guns were stolen. Barry Lathwell said the masked people told him they’d kill him after a traffic accident was staged on Wednesday to snatch him on the road.
CCTV footage shows Mr Lathwell leaving his Barry & Sons Firearms Beckenham gun shop in Perth, followed by a white van, Perth Now confirmed. Another CCTV camera captured when the van deliberately crashed into the back of his vehicle. He was grabbed and bundled into the van when Mr Lathwell pulled over to exchange words with them.
‘They put silver hand cuffs on me, on my hands, they cable tied my legs together, and they got a dirty old mop, I can smell it, it was covered in oil or something like that and taped it to my head,’ he said. The men wore masks and carried knives before forcing Mr Lathwell back into his gun shop where they proceeded to steal more than 100 guns.
While they were distracted Mr Lathwell was able to hit the alarm button in the shop and police rushed to the scene. ‘The police were very very good, they were here in two minutes but the men had gone,’ he said. The van is said to be a Mercedes Sprinter or similar, and had registration ‘PH 10279’. The number plates were stolen from a vehicle earlier in the day, and it is likely they are no longer on the van.
Police are seeking dash-cam footage or any other images which may have been captured in the vicinity of Clapham Street, Albany Highway or Kenwick Link in the hours before and following 5.45pm. Just two years ago Mr Lathwell’s store was the target of another robbery where 130 guns were stolen and only 14 recovered.