Semi-automatic rifles, shotguns, pistols – 159 firearms in total – were seized from the home of a man who worked as a manager at Island Outfitters.
Saanich police were contacted Thursday (Feb. 2) after more than $250,000 worth of merchandise, including the guns, 400 boxes of ammunition and a crossbow, as well as hunting and fishing equipment, went missing from the store’s inventory.
A 40-year-old Saanich resident, a manager in charge of inventory and ordering, was arrested Thursday at the Douglas Street shop. Police say he was legally ordering the items on the store’s behalf, but then added them to his personal collection rather than putting them out for sale.
“This employee is a gun enthusiast,” Jantzen said, calling him a “prominent member” of the local firearms community. “Many of these weapons have no legitimate (hunting) purpose.”
The man legally registered all the firearms with the Canadian Firearms Registry after doctoring paperwork and receipts, Jantzen said.
“Long-gun registry checks were at the forefront of this investigation,” he said. “We support these accessible databases … when we’re investigating instances like this.”
Police seized the items late Thursday night from the man’s home in the 4200-block of Shelbourne St. Most of the guns, Jantzen said, were stored properly, and those that weren’t had been rendered safe.
Many of the guns had never been shot, or even taken out of the packaging, Jantzen added.
“Our detectives are confident that we have everything (that was) outstanding,” he said.
Police believe no guns were ever diverted to “illicit use,” but a great concern to police was the potential for the weapons to have been stolen from the man’s home.
“This is an unscrupulous person … a well-placed employee who was trusted entirely and took advantage of that trust,” Jantzen said.
The 40-year-old employee has not been charged, but police are recommending a charge of theft over $5,000. He was released on a promise to appear.