An MP-Cinco De Mayo Caper
On May 5th, 2023, around 2 p.m., 25-year-old Amber Nicole Herring visited LoneStar Handgun Shooting Range. She reportedly said she was considering a gun purchase, but wanted to try some firearms first. Ms. Herring filled out a safety form, gave an ID, and paid cash to rent a handgun. Moments later she returned and said that she wanted to rent a fully automatic Heckler & Koch MP5. The employee gave the MP5 to Ms. Herring, who then proceeded to leave the store and head to the parking lot to a waiting vehicle. At the time the license plate from the white Ford Ranger could not be identified, as the tailgate was obscuring it.
By Monday the 8th, Ms. Herring was taken into custody by Bear County deputies. She is still a guest of the Bear County Sheriff’s Dept. She faces charges that include theft of a firearm and possession of a machine gun. Her bond has been set at $30,000. At the time of this writing, the MP5 sub-machine gun is still missing.
Lonestar Handgun Range is located northeast of San Antonio situated just outside Converse TX. Looking at aerial maps, it is at the end of a long dirt road out in the county by itself situated among farmland. According to their website LoneStar Handgun Range is San Antonio’s largest shooting range, and that you should not mess with Texas. They are situated on 130 acres with over 85 shooting stalls! Their reviews indicate 4.54 stars with over 1200 reviews! As someone who has managed gun stores, ranges, and their employees for years, I have to ask: WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED? Here’s what I think went wrong.
More Red Flags Than a Beijing Parade
First, the perp’s parking job. When Ms. Herring drove into the property, she parked away from the main building away from cameras. This is always a huge red flag, and it makes me wonder why there were so many blind spots in camera coverage.
Once inside, Ms. Herring employed the old technique of keeping her head down and covered from the cameras with a hat. Having worked loss prevention before and watching people on cameras, I’ve learned that people who are nervous and actively avoiding attention usually draw attention to themselves with their behavior. It’s just something that you learn over time from watching crowds shop and interact.
At my range of employment, even during COVID we required that customers remove hats and masks, then look into the eye-level camera to get a nice picture. Masks are a no-go. In gun stores, only bandits wear masks. Anyone who objected, that was their right … as was ours to deny service.
Here’s a huge red flag: Ms. Herring was said to have wanted to rent a pistol because she wanted to buy a pistol for self-defense. What is weird is that she rented the semi-auto pistol, walked out of the front door, turned around and then wanted to exchange for the “Full Auto MP5.” Civilians can’t own that type of weapon unless they have a cool $50K lying around for a transferable version. It’s a really advanced firearm for a new shooter, and it’s really not suitable for civilian self-defense.
Even if she were renting that full-auto for fun:
There are ranges in America where renting full-auto firearms for a few minutes is the entire draw. These ranges cater to tourists from places where gun ownership is heavily restricted. These tourists come in and pay a large amount of money to shoot a machine gun for a couple seconds. That said, every range I have ever visited that rents full auto firearms ensures those Class III firearms are never out of view of an employee. Furthermore, the only place the customer can even handle the firearm is the firing line. Once there, an employee will give a quick safety brief and any relevant info about that specific firearm. The employee will load and make the firearm ready and on safe. Only then will the customer be allowed to pick up the firearm and aim downrange.
It is basically a miracle that Lodestar has not had other thefts.
The way the range is laid out, you walk into the main store building. You rent your full auto firearm. Then they hand over the gun and instruct the customer to leave the building with the firearm in hand. The customer then walks out to the customer parking lot, which is not secured, to the 130-acre range. The guns do have trigger locks that the customer has to get a range officer to remove once on the lane … but if the bad guys can get it off the property, they’ll have all the time in the world to remove the lock. Why not attach some gps trackers like Apple AirTags where employees could actively track the location of high-value items?
It seems there was also a lack of communication between the rental counter and the actual range officers. The owner admitted that it took several hours for them to even notice the machine gun was missing. They just handed a random customer a full auto machine gun, magazines, and ammo, and didn’t bother to follow up, or even tell the range that a machine gun was on the way? Hours later, Ms. Herring was long gone and the machine gun was no longer in her possession.
All of this could still be overcome by selecting great employees and training them in proper procedure. Apparently the counter clerk allowed Ms. Herring to use untraceable cash instead of a credit/debit card. Using the card would have alerted the employee that the name did not match the driver’s license and acted as a secondary form of ID. Don’t accept preloaded cards; the card must match the ID of someone in the party. In this case cash is not king. Ms. Herring was using an ID from someone who died in a car crash back in December 2022.
I hate that this happened, and I hate that it was preventable. I also hate that the store is continuing with it’s joking attitude when something so serious happened just days ago. Unfortunately even though this store is almost a thousand miles away from me, the repercussions from this theft will certainly impact the firearms industry nationwide. Thefts from gun stores happen all the time, but usually they are smash and grabs and don’t involve class 3 NFA items. Ms. Herring should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
–James the “XDMAN” Nicholas Mr. UnPewfessional Himself.
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Big Al 45
May 10, 2023 at 11:26 am
Any takers on the bet that this very foolish female did this for a BF??????
May 10, 2023 at 2:44 pm
I think this was an inside job!!! Here, I will rent (give) you a MP5. You run with it. I will buy it from you for $5k.
May 11, 2023 at 3:16 pm
ATF C.I.paid to get job at range/gunshop hands off machinegun to another C.I. or ATF AGENT at this point no one’s sitting in jail. This is a perfect sting operation to shut down a very popular range and Gun Shop. Remember who is running this government that’s right our Pal Joey…
Just more demoncrat sleaze.
May 17, 2023 at 8:56 am
Same exact thought I had when I started reading this. I guess we’re both “ conspiracy theorists!
May 10, 2023 at 12:51 pm
With their loosey-goosey protocols, how was this range able to get and keep insurance?? Who thought letting customers walk out the front door with guns was a good idea? This could have been prevented by something as simple as requiring rental customers to use an exit that funneled them into a fenced walkway. Just having to be escorted from the rental counter to the firing line would do the trick.
May 10, 2023 at 1:42 pm
Sounds like the ATF is going to be pulling someones license !!!!
May 10, 2023 at 2:08 pm
Put her in the darkest, dankest jail cell in Texas and let her see you throwing the key away! When she decides to talk – then consider letting her have some light.
May 11, 2023 at 11:39 am
THIS seems to be one gun shop where the ATF’s “Zero Tolerance” policy would be a good fit rather than places closed down for abbreviating avenue incorrectly.
May 11, 2023 at 11:52 am
Funny seen this in my local news too but it’s Bexar county!