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Woman arrested for stealing machine gun from Texas gun range

Police lights. (Dreamstime/TNS)
May 22, 2023

A plea for community aid to identify a woman who stole a machine gun from a shooting range near Converse, Texas, has ended with an arrest. Initial identification of the suspect was complicated because the suspect reportedly used her dead sister’s identity to register at the range. Surveillance photos and video of the suspect were released to local news stations in the hope that the suspect could be identified.

Amber Herring, 25, was arrested Tuesday, May 9. She faces multiple charges, including theft of a firearm and possession of a prohibited firearm. She’s currently being held in custody under a $30,000 bond, KTXS reported.

Josh Felker, the owner of Lonestar Handgun, where the theft occurred, stated the woman followed procedures and seemed like any other customer, according to KENS 5. Upon her arrival, she requested to rent a handgun prior to returning it and exchanging it to try the machine gun. 

“She went out on the range, shot it, came back in with the handgun, and said, ‘I think I want to try out the machine gun,” Felker said, according to KENS5.

Lonestar Handgun equips rental guns with a trigger lock, requiring customers to go to the range next door to have the lock removed and the gun loaded before they can be shot on the range. 

Instead of following these steps, surveillance video shows Herring carrying the machine gun, a 9-millimeter MP5 Sub Machine gun capable of firing up to 900 rounds per minute, to the parking lot. Once there, she entered a white truck and drove away. 

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The theft was made possible by errors on both sides, Felker said. The employee who facilitated the rental deviated from policy by accepting a cash payment. The employee did follow policy and retained the photo identification Herring supplied at the time of rental, however, the identification wasn’t Herring but her dead sister. 

When responding officers ran the Texas driver’s license left by the thief, an alert returned that the owner had died in a car fire in December of 2022. Left with little to go on but an urgent desire to catch Herring before the gun was used, officers turned to surveillance video of the crime. 

Through the social media of family members of the dead woman, officers were able to identify and locate Herring using distinctive tattoos present on her hand and arms. 

“In (the employee’s) defense,” Felker said, “ his mother had died earlier this past week. And so he was at work not because he had to be at work, but because he wanted to be at work. And just so his mind was at other places. It’s not excusable, but it happens.” 

Even though Felker is understanding, he told KENS 5 the store would be reviewing and modifying policies to prevent another theft from happening. 

“We’re looking into the probably everyone that rents a machine gun at the minimum will have to be escorted on the range, which will tie up more range staff, which will increase the cost, which will also take away their ability to supervise the others in line but nobody wants firearms stolen, especially machine guns,” Felker said