Surveillance video helps police catch thief with long criminal record

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The surveillance video shows a white, slightly heavy-set young man stand at a large gun display inside Glendale's sprawling Cabela's sporting goods store late last month.

And according to Glendale police, it is the opening scene of a brazen theft of a high-powered assault rifle.

The young man in the video, later identified as 38-year-old Kristopher Michael Lauchner, is then seen putting a Bushmaster 223 Rifle in his shopping cart.

Cops say Lauchner then goes to the camping department and grabs a long canvas bag containing a sleeping cot.

Store cameras again pick up Lauchner as he walks into a men's room where police say he slipped the rifle into the canvas bag.

Lauchner is then seen at the cash register, paying for the cot and walking out the front door.

Heads up store employees soon detected the missing weapon.

Police were called. Surveillance tape was reviewed. And soon members of the Glendale Police Department's Repeat Offender Unit were called in when it was discovered that the man in the video, Kristopher Lauchner, is a convicted felon with a hefty rap sheet including aggravated assault.

After being watched by undercover officers for a couple of days, Lauchner was taken into custody on Tuesday outside the same Cabela's store.

He has reportedly confessed to the theft.

An interesting footnote to the story: all of the guns at Cabela's are reportedly equipped with anti-theft, trigger locks.

But according to police, Lauchner said as he was looking at one rifle when the trigger lock fell out.

"He admitted to stealing the gun," a detective with the Repeat Offender Unit said. "Because it was a sign from God when the trigger lock fell out."

The stolen rifle was recovered in the attic of Lauchner's west Valley home.