UPDATE: August 22, 2012
Friends and fellow business owners are speaking out in defense of an Augusta couple arrested on federal gun charges.
The couple owns a combination, hair salon and gun shop and today ATF agents and police officers swarmed the business after several months of investigation.
Hair stylist Amanda Stroman has worked at Dream Weaver's in Augusta for five years but says she got an unexpected day off when she showed up to work and found the place filled with police officers and federal agents.
“They said I wouldn't be coming to work today,” Stroman said.
Stroman says she found out her bosses, Tracey and Jefferey Eberhart had been arrested on federal gun charges.
“I don't believe it, Tracey is one of my best friends she's not just an employer and I love her and I love Jeff. We've gotten very close. We're like family so for people to even be saying things like this, it doesn't make sense to me,” Stroman said.
A year ago KAKE news did a story on the Augusta business, advertised as "Where beauty and bullets collide."
Tracey eberhart explained to us why she wanted to open a gun shop in a hair salon.
“We want women to come in and get a woman's perspective and get advice from another woman,” Eberhart said.
A spokesperson with the U.S. attorney's office says when Eberhart got her license to sell guns, she told them she planned to cater to women. But investigators say she never mentioned her husband, Jeffrey, would also be selling guns. They tell us Jeffery Eberhart is a convicted felon and isn't allowed to have or sell firearms.
“They're wonderful people and I hope that we find out this is just a big mistake,” Stroman said.
We heard a similar reaction at the bakery across the street.
“My first reaction was if anything was done wrong, it would have been done without their intention or their knowledge,” Cindy Meinecke, owner of Brick Street Bake Shoppe, said.
Stroman tells us in the five years she's worked at Dream Weavers, the owners have done a lot for her. For now, she says the only thing she can do for them is keep the hair salon end of Dream Weavers open for business.
As part of their investigation, we're told undercover ATF agents bought guns from Jeffrey Eberhart at gun shows and at the store in Augusta.
Jefferey and Tracey Eberhart are charged with 2 counts each of federal firearms violations.
UPDATE: August 22, 2012
Federal agents are assisting local authorities with an illegal firearms investigation at an Augusta beauty shop and gun store.
Officers served a search warrant at Tracey's Dream Weavers Salon And Sporting Goods, 431 State St., Wednesday morning.
The U.S. Attorney's office said the investigation began after agents noticed Jeffrey Eberhart, 50, selling firearms from a booth at a Topeka gun show in January.
Prosecutors said Eberhart, a convicted felon, was prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition.
Eberhart explained to an undercover agent that his wife and female employees sold guns during the week while he and another man sold firearms at gun shows on weekends. Later, ATF agents purchased ammunition and guns from Jeffrey Eberhart, both at the storefront in Augusta and at gun shows.
Eberhart was charged with one count of unlawful possession of a firearm after a felony conviction and one count of dealing in firearms without a license.
His wife, Tracey, 41, was also charged with one count of aiding a felon in possessing firearms and ammunition and one count of providing firearms and ammunition to a convicted felon.
Investigators said Tracey Eberhart obtained a federal license as a firearms dealer. However she made no mention that her husband would help run the business during the application process.
If convicted, the crimes carry the following penalties:
Aiding a felon in possession of a firearm: A maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.
Providing firearms and ammunition to a felon: A maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.
Unlawful possession of a firearm after a felony conviction: A maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.
Dealing in firearms without a license: A maximum penalty of five years and a fine up to $250,000.
KAKE News featured Dream Weavers in a July, 2011 report. The business started as a hair salon and started offering gun sales and firearms classes to women three years ago.
August 22, 2012
Law enforcement sources said two people have been arrested in connection with a federal investigation of an Augusta gun shop.
ATF agents served a search warrant at Dream Weavers Salon & Sporting Goods, 431 State Street. Agents have been on the scene for hours.
KAKE News featured Dream Weavers in a July, 2011 report. The business started as a hair salon and started offering gun sales and firearms classes three years ago.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.