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Break in at Holliston Firearms

by Paul Saulnier
January 26, 2013

Saturday, January 26, 2013. At approximately 7:30 AM, police responded to a call to 838 Washington Street about a break into Holliston Firearms.

Access was apparently gained through the front door.                                                                                                                                                                                                            

A window in the door was broken from the outside. An upstairs tenant reportedly heard an alarm go off early in the morning but then stopped.

The power to the building had been shut off during the night. Tracks in the fresh snow went from the building down to Mechanic Street. It was too early to determine what, if anything, was taken during the break in.


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Comments (61)

Mark, what year did you graduate HHS? I know there was a Heavner in my class, but I'm not sure of the first name. In any event, I was class of 1977 and hold an LTC-A. Would like to stop by sometime to see what you have.

If you reply, please be sure to do so by email, as I just stumbled upon this website... not a regular reader.


Keith E. Herzog CPA CFP CFA

Lexington, MA

- Keith E. Herzog | 10/2/13 8:38 PM

Hi Scott. Been a long time. Glad to see you and Mark are doing well. Hope the reopening goes well. I'll be stopping in again when I can. Say 'hi' to Mark for me.

I too am amazed at the level of ignorance displayed by some here.

But...having grown up in Holliston, I'm not surprised. That element has always been present in town.


- Brad M. | 4/3/13 2:44 PM

When this business opened, there were prophecies of many of doom and gloom. Crime rampant on the streets, uptick in crimes, death, drugs, and heinous crimes. I looked at police logs, and I have yet to see any of this occur since the place opened.

Since this break in, I have yet to see crime raise, or any gun related crimes occur.

So let us look at the FACTS:

1: The place was broken into. Obvious by the pictures posted. What is not obvious is how it was broken into. For anyone who has ever entered this building, this door is a main door for the entire building.

2: It is unknown, presumably except by law enforcement, how the actual gun shop was broken into, and what was stolen.

3: It is not being reported how the power was shut off. Legit power failure, or criminal turning off power.

All any of us know is that the place was broken into. That's it. Yet, people have over reacted triggering the next Mayan prophecy. Had the CVS been broken into, and oxycotin (spelling?) been stolen, would we paint pictures of rampant drug use on the streets? Addicts selling on the corners? Addicts selling on school grounds? How about the Hardware store? Does this mean the "crazies" with chainsaws are going to attach those downtown?

I respect those that like or dislike guns; however, do not condemn a person or business for the irrational acts of those that do not adhere to the law.

Instead, how about we try and help out law enforcement and business owner by reporting any suspicious activities in the area to law enforcement.

Maybe if we act like a community, we can function as one.

- Jack Stranton | 3/25/13 12:55 PM

Is this Bushmaster some type of gun that is inherently more lethal than regular guns? Is it even legal to sell these types of weapons in a town like Holliston? Shouldn't we as a community be able to decide the types of businesses that make up the essence of what makes us not just a town, but a community?

- BF | 1/30/13 2:57 PM

This issue is not about whether or not Mark Heavner is a nice person. Nor is it about how many years some commenters have lived in town, and others haven't. A Washington St gun store was robbed, power cut, windows smashed and guns stolen. This gun store exists less than 2 miles from every one of our schools. Before the break-in the store featured Bushmasters on its main webpage - the same gun used in the Newtown, Ct massacre. "Only 4 left" So,we can keep telling ourselves we live in a nice, small town or we can actually start asking some hard questions of our town officials about what kind of zoning and businesses make sense in our downtown.

- Anne-Marie | 1/30/13 9:35 AM

Mark, my family and I are proud to support you and your business. No doubt the HPD will do their usual outstanding job and catch these criminals.

- Cindy V | 1/29/13 7:48 PM

Sorry your business was broken into. I'll be shopping by soon.

Look forward to HPD making an arrest on this one. I have a funny feeling that its more then just a couple guys with bolt cutters and a rock.

- Sean | 1/29/13 7:19 PM

Mark Heavner and his wife are two great people who run an honest business. I've known Mark for about 3 years now and I have great respect for him personally and professionally. In order to get a permit and conduct business he had to go through all of the local, state and federal law requirements. As a Holliston home and business owner myself, I can assure you the selectman, police and fire dept all have to make sure that everything is in place before you can open your doors. I believe Chief Moore and the police department do an outstanding job. I moved to this town 20 years ago and have seen this town grow, yet remain a small close knit town. We may not all agree on everything but we should be supportive of a Holliston business owner trying to make an honest and reputable living.

David Wolfson

- David Wolfson | 1/29/13 7:05 PM

Mark Heavner is a well respected businessman in Holliston. Why does this unfortunate incident bring out negative feelings about what he sells (guns) or the HPD? Let's relax a little and work together to make Holliston and even better place to live and bring up our children?

- Bill Batchelor | 1/29/13 12:00 PM

What is a bushmaster?

- BF | 1/28/13 11:04 PM

I had no idea we had a gun shop in town, a gun shop that sells the bushmaster and gleefully advertises "only 4 left!". Pathetic. This town is pathetic. It took them months and months to grant a permit to a dr. that wanted to open an office in town but hey, why not a firearms store, a few stores down from Fiske's, across the street from a candy store and down the street from the elementary school. Take your guns and go back to 1776, it's where you ignorant people belong.

- Disgusted | 1/28/13 10:11 PM

Notice only non gun owners are making negative comments. Mark is a business man trying to make a better living for himself. Guns don't kill people stupidity does. You should all take a gun course and learn to respect our hobby. Put the shoe on the other foot what if this was your shop and nitwits were making comments about your business.

- Dave | 1/28/13 5:44 PM

Wow, some of the most ignorant comments I have ever seen. People jumping to conclusions, talking about things they don't know about, some of you people make me regret that I swore an oath to defend your right to bloviate like pompous, Machiavellian jackasses.

- Tyler | 1/28/13 3:51 PM

A comment was made that the front door was "ridiculous". Well, don't you think it was purposely that way to make the place look just like any other residence. Then INSIDE the lobby, another door that is like a fortress. A law-abiding citizen who wants to buy a gun will research and find out where to buy one. But this house should not be made to look like a fortress from the outside. That would only advertise what is really inside.

- Jean | 1/28/13 1:12 AM

Were any guns actually stolen? The caption under the photo states that it was too early to determine what, if anything, was taken. Access to the building does not mean access to the guns, correct? I would imagine that all guns in the possession of a legitimate firearms dealer are required to be securely stored. (e.g. breaking into the lobby of a bank doesn't give a robber access to the vault)

- Sherri | 1/27/13 2:54 PM

I am really confused as to why people have the impression that anyone is "crucifying" Mr. Heavner or "badmouthing" HPD. I have read through all the comments and see no evidence of either of those claims. People have questions about the safety of the shop. People have questions about whether the shop should be allowed with a residential tenant living above it. People have questions as to what happened yesterday and want more information. It is a false dichotomy to argue that people that have questions do not respect HPD, you can both have questions AND have the utmost respect for the HPD. It is also false to assume that people that have concerns about the shop are somehow automatically out to get Mr. Heavner. It is our community and our right to feel safe in our own community. It is not logical to assume that we are safe because we have a great police force. Under this logic Newtown does not have a great police force? Bad things happen even when we have great PDs. No one is getting out sticks and shovels. It is a sign of intelligence to raise questions, and I am all for more of them.

- Keep questioning | 1/27/13 1:54 PM

I am writing in support of Mark Heavner who is an outstanding and lifelong citizen of Holliston. He serves on the HFD as an officer and runs a successful contracting business that has employed many Holliston residents throughout the years. Knowing Mark well for over 40 years, he is a responsible business owner and truly cares about the Town of Holliston. I am certain that he has followed all the regulations that a gun dealer must adhere to or he would not have been able to open. All the residents of Holliston should be supporting him rather than crucifying him. Wait to know the facts before you judge.

- Tom Rossini | 1/27/13 12:03 PM

Well said Paul. Security concerns aside for a moment, (there are THOUSANDS of guns in Holliston homes). Ma. unlike many states requires businesses selling firearms to record serial #s for all transactions. Hopefully when Mark is able to see what was stolen this will help the agencies investigating this crime find the criminal.Maybe at that point we can prosecute the perpetrator not persecute the victim. Getting back to security, having been in the store a few times it seemed Mr Heavener employed all reasonable measures one would expect short of the aforementioned moat.

- Fred Carnes | 1/27/13 10:50 AM

I just somehow am trying to fathom all these comments from everyone trying to badmouth Mark and the Holliston Police department!I have lived in Holliston since a young teenager from 1962. I have seen the Police department grow from the direction of Chief Holbrook, to

Chief John Moore. The changes and betterments over these years have been phenomonal! In the past several years, I've seen tremendous changes in this department! Right now, for those who think they are unsafe! You are safe! We have THE best Police dept in Metro West!Just because you don't have the information you think you are entitled to every hour, you'll have to wait! Give them a chance to investigate this! Along with Mark, and the other agencies!State Police, and the FBI! What more can you possibly ask for? And Scott, I don't know you personally, but I do some of your other family members, I went to school with them! I have the utmost respect for Mark and his business. He is a professional. I just can't imagine the stress they are going through right now!You say they are fine. I hope so!For the rest of the townspeople, put your sticks and shovels down and wait until this investigation is over! Please!! Let the professionals do their job!

- Paul Guyon | 1/27/13 1:58 AM

After reading all the comments I find not one directed at the person/persons committing this crime.It shows that no matter what laws we have there is someone who will break the law. To those anti -gunners so quick to comment about what they do not know, I have a proposal.Before you comment again you need to be finger printed,photographed, and have your background checked. When you have then been issued your license to speak you then be allowed to exercise that right only once a month. After all that is what gun owners must do to exercise there RIGHT to buy a legal product that is regulated like no other. As for the owners of this gunshop you will find no finer people than the Heavners. With the time and money they have invested in this business it is a shame that people are quick to blame them because they have followed all the rules,laws and requirements to sell products that most of you no nothing about. Lets focus on the criminal who committed this crime and lock them up and throw away the key.

- Jamey M. | 1/26/13 8:44 PM

Peggy- so you want to put the owner out of business until which time this "gross injustice" is rectified? Like this was some personal crime committed against you? Funny how you personalize a burglary that you know nothing about and demand satisfaction and explanation.... Here is an idea, why don't you wait for the facts to come out and assume that the town and state performed a final inspection before allowing the owner to open and that he met the requirements prior to opening. Unless you are we'll verses in the legal Sale of firearms and ammunition please climb back in your liberal gun hating hole.

- Scott W | 1/26/13 7:36 PM

First of all, thanks for worrying about my brother and sister in law's well being. My parents always told me to keep a civil tongue, but in this case I won't heed their advice. My brother worked hard to build a business here in town and to establish such a business you must have an ultra clean record. That said, does that make him any worse than the guy who owns the local package store who peddles his liquor, which causes more deaths than guns? Or the pharmacist peddles his drugs that seem to fall into the wrong hands more often than they should. Or even all those people that have had abortions that have taken the life of an innocent human being. What makes my brother so evil in your eyes? ... Statistics tell us, in just this group of commentors, we have someone that has either had or been involved in an abortion, is that better or worse than my brother? I ask you to look into your soul before you condemn somebody in my family, think before you write, heed my parents lesson keep a civil tongue.

And to those of you condemning the Holliston Police Department, I was there all day and was very impressed by their methodology and control of the scene.

By the way my brother and his family are fine, Thanks for asking

- Scott Heavner | 1/26/13 6:58 PM

Don't we all have better things to argue about? Mark is a business man also. We all have different opinions. We should work together not waste our time with petty stuff.

- Kristen | 1/26/13 6:53 PM

scott .. if this is so,, about the door, then how did they get in to steal them??? not too secure in my mind

- ben | 1/26/13 5:13 PM

Just for those uninformed inside the store is a closet like room that has a heavy steel door that i believe the guns are stored in when it is not open.

- Scott | 1/26/13 5:10 PM

What you people are failing to see is how easy it was for this place to be broken into... how easy it was for them to cut the lines to the power or what ever, and now we have guns on our streets. .This place of business should have been iron clad, should have had a back up system so if the power does go out it would still alert the police and really the front door to the shop even though it was not the door "to the shop" is a joke.. . Holliston Police need to take a closer look at how they scrutinized this building and its "codes" and if true and there are tenants living there.. in violation this shop should be closed until the necessary adjustments can be made.. this is a gross injustice to all of us that live in this town

- peggy | 1/26/13 4:17 PM

so a press release just came out .. nothing new was said... hmmm break in at 7:30 press release at 2... no mention of what,how many or what else was done.. way to go Holliston,, way to go

- kathy | 1/26/13 4:10 PM

Why are people commenting on stuff they obviously didn't read. She said she wouldn't want a porn shop. She just made the point that it doesn't kill. Get a life and get the facts first or shut up.

- Doug | 1/26/13 3:17 PM

Wait!! call in the national guard.. no they carry guns,, call in Mayor Blair,, not he planting his bulbs, ok then call in Mr. Dowd he has all the answers for the town.. or at least he writes about them!! so darn funny. people our wonderful (sic) towns police will let us know what is going on.. they always do....right???? oh and Barb is my real name!

- barb | 1/26/13 3:17 PM

craig. people like you and all the others that are taking the stand that nothing is wrong here... it takes alot to put your name out there, it takes alot to get the "nut jobs" off your front porch!

- ben | 1/26/13 3:02 PM

Well said Ian. . it sure is taking the heat off of bill dowd!!! :)

- ammie | 1/26/13 2:58 PM

That new remodeling job sure does take away from the historical attractiveness of the place. What a hack job.

- Henry | 1/26/13 2:58 PM

Why are only three people in this entire thread willing to use their real names? You're a member of this community, aren't you? What are you afraid of?

- Craig Fitzgerald | 1/26/13 2:56 PM

All of these comments are making me laugh. . it is finally good to see them not in the context of a certain Mr. Dowd's writings but rather another subject in town. . that should by all means get more attention!! way to go Holliston!

- Ian | 1/26/13 2:47 PM

Ok Craig all of you "joe Fridays" craig said call to rest... but a break in... at a gun shop.. hmmmm safe.. I think not!

- craig | 1/26/13 2:44 PM

you have all the answers... and a moat.. wow did not know we were that protected!! Iam on happy person now living in this wonderful, protected town. . never a worry or care to be had... thanks for the info and iam thrilled to see you have a nonchalant carefree attitude. I wish i could have some of your carefree life... wake up this is 2013.. we are a society that has to be proactive. but still glad we have that "moat" :)

- dave | 1/26/13 2:40 PM

My lord, I've never seen such literally ignorant comments in my life.

First of all, you were informed -- multiple times -- that this shop was opening in town. I learned of it, in fact, from this very publication.

Second, the door in the photo is not the door to the shop. It's the door to the main hall of the building.

This is a well-run small business. We don't even know if anything was stolen, and there are ample reasons for the police not to disclose any further information until their investigation is complete.

You armchair Joe Fridays should give it a rest.

- Craig Fitzgerald | 1/26/13 2:38 PM

So a porn shop is ok? Not 100% sure, but I'm guessing a porn shop may draw the likes of degenerates and sex offenders. Now that wouldn't make me too happy. For the simple reason that gun owners are tracked the same way, if not stricter, than sex offenders. Of course guns kill if used improperly and then we can go on a rant about cars, drunks, etc.

- Sally you have kids? | 1/26/13 2:33 PM

sorry to offend you... WHAT EVER!

- still worried | 1/26/13 2:31 PM

If you feel your CHILDREN, not kids, are safer with the locked door then I support you and now they are locked. You can find my remarks as you wish, not sure what old school means other than in the term old school hip/hop, which I do enjoy.

My opinion, don't care if you agree, is that we should not come to immediate judgement without all the facts and start offering suggestions. I personally feel safe with shop in town, you on the other hand may feel safer with the shop in Ashland. Why? Because of the moat or protective wall surrounding Holliston.

BTW, the police did make a statement: The investigation is on-going at this point and we will be updating the public once we have confirmed or denied what, if anything, was taken from the building.

- Sorry to offend you | 1/26/13 2:27 PM

guns kill, a porn shop last i heard does not.. not that i want any of these in my town.. we are a small town, with small town ways..a gun shop with little protection against theft is not what we need, and the idea that we are complaining is just not true. . I sure hope someday you do not regret your words about people being ignorant... you could be on the other end of a stolen item and wished that this place had not moved to town

- sally | 1/26/13 2:21 PM

Opinions are just that. Everyone has one. They are not going to be the same. It is what it is. A fire arms shop a porn shop a strip joint whatever. People are not going to be happy no matter what. They will only be happy with complaining. People should keep there mouths shut till all the facts are in. The misinformed are also the ignorant.

God bless us.

- Brian | 1/26/13 2:15 PM

here we go..... I take offense at your statement that I should build a bunker.. YOU my friend are the one who should do that.. I on the other hand have chosen to try and take what ever measures it would be to insure safety for my CHILDREN.. not a kid.. that is a baby goat.... I find your remarks old school.. in this day of mass shootings any protection is much appreciated ... now on to the subject at hand the gun shop.. we in Holliston let this shop in,, but with reluctance.. and yes now it has been broken into. . not a word from the police or owner... and yes there is a tenant living upstairs. not a business.. so lets get some answers and hope that we are all safe from what ever happens...

- still worried | 1/26/13 2:12 PM

businesses can be run out of residential properties with certain variances. i highly doubt that the town was unaware that there was firearms being sold at this location. i, on the other, was not aware we had such in town. and i also suspect that there are numerous families in town with weapons (hopefully in locked cabinets, unloaded....) and would like to know the difference from this break in as opposed to a home break in?? firearms can be purchased on the streets within a few miles from here, and the likelihood is that the perpetrator has now pocketed some cash, and made a few more weapons available to anyone willing to buy them.

- tara schaller | 1/26/13 2:05 PM

Aside from the break in news, I noticed that the attractive porch is now partially enclosed to add a room or something. It is not in keeping with style of the original house, and is this house in a historical district? and will it conform if it is.

- curious | 1/26/13 2:04 PM

anne concerned, why is Mark out of compliance because he had a tenant? Are you ASSUMING the tenant was not a business? There are other businesses in this building. Was it not one of them? Was someone not working late/early. I don't know, do you?

- A lot of ASSumptions | 1/26/13 2:04 PM

It didn't take long for a Bob to pop up. Do I feel any "safer" with our school doors locked? Nope. Guess what other school was also locked.

At some point people may realize that loons and criminals will always find a way. Always. Be it shooting through a school door, lighting the house on fire after dousing kids with gas, parking a truck full of fertilizer in front of a day care.

So yes I now deal with the slight nuisance and extra time it takes me to pick up my kid. But that's ok, no biggie, because it makes someone feel better.

My suggestion is to go ahead and pull your children out of school system, build a bunker and enjoy.

But no one wants to wait for the facts before discussing compliance and what else should be done.

- Here we go with the schools.... | 1/26/13 1:58 PM

As a town we should absolutely choose to support certain businesses against certain others. Otherwise Washington Street could be populated with strip clubs, liquor stores, porn shops and other businesses that lower property values. By your reasoning we should never prevent any type of business - no matter what - from setting up shop in town. The break-in is exactly what the folks who didn't want a gun store in the downtown area feared. And now it has happened. In addition, there were a lot of people who thought a gun store should not have been considered a regular retail store like Fiske's but should have been subject to greater scrutiny by the all the boards in town. Unfortunately, our zoning laws are such that didn't happen. We should let the police do their job and there should also be a full and public accounting of what happened and if anything was taken. One of the things we value about living in Holliston is the small-town feel and the safety. Now we live in a town with a gun shop on the Main Street that has been the victim of a theft.

- Anne-Marie | 1/26/13 1:55 PM

Were he aware of this situation, I am confident NRA President Wayne LaPierre would say, "The answer to bad guys breaking into gun shops is good guys breaking into gun shops."

- tpartynitwit | 1/26/13 1:53 PM

Ok so the appearance of a front door is more important than how the inventory is actually protected? Walmart, Bass Pro Shop, the academy (shall I continue?), etc all have glass entry doors that can easily be smashed. So by throwing a rock anyone can get access to an arsenal. Stop. Think. Always easy to immediately start offering suggestions without the full picture.

The police will inform the public when they have the ACCURATE information to report. Instead of sketchy details to send everyone into a tizzy.

Wait for the difficult as it is.

- Stop the paranoia | 1/26/13 1:49 PM

Wendy glad you are so secure with having a gun shop broken into.. I for one would like to see some changes made and swiftly... just like our schools that are under protected now our town is... lets start by making sure these types of businesses are professionally controlled and not out of compliance..

- bob | 1/26/13 1:37 PM

I agree with stop the paranoia. Lets wait and get all the facts. We are a town that prides itself on supporting local businesses. Who are we to discriminate which businesses we choose to support???. Lets not lose sight of the fact that if something was stolen, that is a persons business and that is money out of his pocket. Let the police do their job, I am sure if changes need to be made, Mark will be the first person to do what is necessary to operate his business safely.

- Wendy | 1/26/13 1:30 PM

stop the then if you are so not worried.. let the police tell us what was taken.. and yes that door may not lead right to the shop but non the less it is not a secure door, , Mark is out of compliance too with renters and a gun shop... so rather than stop the paranoia lets control it with safer shops wake up !!!

- anne concerned | 1/26/13 1:17 PM

Have any of your ever been into the shop? Do you think this glass door leads you right into a room full of weapons?

Before you make any assumptions wait until you hear the rest of the story and see if anything was actually taken.

Hopefully Mark did not loose any inventory.

Cutting power to the building shows that criminals will stop at nothing.

- Stop the paranoia | 1/26/13 1:10 PM

so rather than "sweep this under the rug" where is the police dept on these laws about non residence? yes that is a place where people live and other businesses... come on town wake up

- concerned | 1/26/13 1:07 PM

It may also be of interest to some that Mass General Law states that "all licensees shall maintain a permanent place of business that is not a residence or dwelling". One might argue that the store with a tenant above it violates such a law, and that it is reasonable to believe that this type of occurrence might be at least partially why this law was instituted.

- Time for more questions | 1/26/13 12:51 PM

I think as a community we should be told what was taken and how the police are dealing with this issue. .In light of all the publicity of late with Newton etc I think this small town of ours should be kept up to date.. stolen items etc.. . what a crisis this town would have if guns were put on our streets...

- jean | 1/26/13 12:31 PM

Looks to me like that place should have been more secure.. a better door, more lights... what is going on in this town???

- laraine | 1/26/13 12:26 PM

I agree with Steve. Aren't there any town or statewide ordinances about security for shops like this? I think a review of some policies should be done by the police dpartment.

- Erin Palmatier | 1/26/13 12:09 PM

Answer me this one Town of Holliston and the Police Dept.. why of all places does this building not have a "safer" door in place. . a solid type door.. this is the most ridiculous door for a gun shop I have ever seen.. with all the shootings, guns,and hype I would think it was mandatory to have a better door. .Holliston Police where are you on this???

- steve | 1/26/13 10:51 AM

Oh no...That is so not good. Guns in the hands of bad guys. Sure hope they will be found quickly.

- Jean | 1/26/13 10:49 AM



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