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Teens steal, try to sell guns

Island County Detective Mike Birchfield shows some of the stolen guns and knives recovered last week from several locations. - Gayle Saran
Island County Detective Mike Birchfield shows some of the stolen guns and knives recovered last week from several locations.
— image credit: Gayle Saran

Guns and knives stolen from a private collection last month were recovered in Freeland Dec. 10 by the Island County Sheriff’s Office.

The cache of nine guns, including a sub machine gun and two large knives, were stolen by several teens in November from a Freeland resident, and recovered by Detectives Mike Birchfield, Mark Plumberg and Deputy Rob Davison.

According to Birchfield the case involves three 15-year-old boys and one 13-year-old boy all from South Whidbey.

“We have been investigating the theft since it happened and “caught wind of teens trying to sell guns.”

Birchfield said apparently “one or possibly two of the 15-year-olds burglarized a Freeland home stealing the gun collection. Later another 15-year-old was attempted to buy one.

“The 13-year old involved in the case is the younger brother of one other teens,” Birchfield said.

“To their credit, they all cooperated with us,” he said.

When deputies recovered the guns most were loaded and apparently some had been fired.

“We have no tolerance for guns in the hands of teens. They could have fallen into the hands of the criminal element which could have led to serious consequences. Guns don’t belong with kids,” Birchfield said.

After the theft, the teens apparently hid the guns in several locations.

“We retrieved a Colt 45 from one of the teen’s bedrooms and six more were stashed in a barn, one under a log and another in a tree fort,” Birchfield said.

In spite of their age the boys are facing serious charges.

“They can be charged with burglary, in the first degree, possession of a stolen firearms, unlawful possession of a firearms and theft and possession of stolen property,” Birchfield said.

The weapons were part of a collection acquired by a Freeland resident over a number of years.

Recovered was a 1927 model Thompson machine gun, .30-06-caliber rifle, Remington .30-30, Colt 45 German Luger, .25 semi automatic derringer, two shot derringer, several other pistols and two sharp knives, with 8-inch blades.

The weapons are now at the Washington state crime lab undergoing forensic examination for fingerprints.

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