Fort Worth

Receipt from Fort Worth gun dealer found in home of San Bernardino killers

A display of ammunition in the now closed Cheaper Than Dirt store in north Fort Worth. Photo from November 2008.
A display of ammunition in the now closed Cheaper Than Dirt store in north Fort Worth. Photo from November 2008. Star-Telegram archives

A receipt from a Fort Worth-based online firearms dealer was found in the home of the couple suspected of killing 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif., on Wednesday.

The store, Cheaper Than Dirt, was once one of the larger brick-and-mortar gun stores in Fort Worth.

It still says Cheaper Than Dirt above one door, and on the alarm license, but there’s no public access to the buildings at Interstate 35W and North Loop 820, WFAA reported.

The dealer does have an active online presence and appears to do all its business there.

When it was open, the store was a favorite with law enforcement personnel, and often helped reporters, including from News 8 and the Star-Telegram, with reports on firearms issues.

Cheaper Than Dirt’s chief operating officer, Roberta Wilson, didn’t respond to email from the Star-Telegram asking whether the shop sold anything to the California suspects, Syed Rizwan Farook or Tashfeen Malik.

But on social media, someone using the Cheaper Than Dirt account tweeted that the company has never shipped guns to California and people should direct “concerns” to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which regulates gun dealers.

A post on Cheaper Than Dirt’s Facebook page contained similar language:

“Our Company has never sold or shipped firearms anywhere in California,” the post said. “All companies in our industry are licensed and regulated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“Please feel free to contact that Federal Agency, or any Local, State or other Federal Agency if you have concerns about our company.

“We appreciate the continuous support of our valued customers.”

ATF spokesman Russ Morrison said he couldn’t comment on an FBI terrorism investigation. Dallas FBI spokeswoman Allison Mahan also declined to comment, saying it was an ongoing investigation.

The gun dealer’s website says it is a good source for AR-15s and AK-47s and their accessories. The message on the store’s customer service line says Cheaper Than Dirt has served more than 5 million customers.

It’s not clear what the receipt found in the suspects’ home is for or who made the purchase.

In 2011, Cheaper Than Dirt was in the news because two Fort Worth men were sentenced to federal prison for buying assault rifles that were to be smuggled into Mexico for use by the violent Los Zetas gang.

According to court documents, one of the men admitted to federal agents that he had bought 27 assault rifles from the Cheaper Than Dirt gun store, lying on an ATF form that they were for personal use.

On the store’s blog, Cheaper Than Dirt also posted, “Hey gun control people, the genie is out of the bottle.”

Staff writer Mitch Mitchell contributed to this report, which includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.