Man's guns confiscated during son's arrest Owner puzzled

police label weapons evidence

January 17, 1998|By Dail Willis | Dail Willis,SUN STAFF

Robert Blonder's long-gun collection was the work of nearly three decades -- old weapons bought at gun shows or flea markets or from friends, then lovingly repaired and restored. He hung the guns, many of them from two world wars, on the basement walls of his Owings Mills home, proudly displaying a collection valued at $25,000.

Now it's gone, confiscated Dec. 31 by Baltimore County police officers who noticed it when they came to arrest his son on charges of resisting arrest and hindering a police officer.

Police say the weapons are evidence in a case against Brian David Blonder, whose three felony convictions bar him from owning guns. The only way Robert Blonder can get his collection back, the police say, is to go to court.

Robert Blonder is puzzled by the seizure and worried about his collection. "I've never had a problem with the police," said the 48-year-old auto mechanic, who owns a car-repair business in Mount Washington.

For several years, he said, he was a gunsmith with the required federal license issued after the FBI checked his background. Now, he says, he does not repair guns for money, so he let the federal license lapse.

Instead, he collects guns and works on them as a hobby. Only two of the confiscated guns have been fired in the past 10 years, he said.

Robert Blonder doesn't understand why the guns were confiscated. He said his son, 29, has not lived at the family home for 11 years and does not live there now.

Police said the confiscation was justified.

"The son is the focus now, and the guns are evidence in the case against the son," said police spokesman Bill Toohey. "If he wants them back, he will need to get a court order."

Three convictions

The events surrounding the seizure do not appear to be in dispute.

Brian Blonder's criminal history stretches back a decade, court records show. He has been convicted of spousal abuse once and burglary twice. Guns were not involved in any of the crimes, nor has he been arrested on a weapons charge.

In December, Brian Blonder was named in an outstanding warrant on a charge of indecent exposure that was brought after police said he urinated on a patrol car.

On Dec. 23, two officers observed him in a McDonald's parking lot "acting nervous," according to a report filed by the officers. They stopped him, asked for identification and told him to stand with his hands on the hood of a car while they checked his record. The check turned up the outstanding warrant, information Brian Blonder overheard from the radio worn by one of the officers, Toohey said.

Brian Blonder broke away from the police and ran, eluding the pursuing officers, according to their report. A warrant was issued later that day charging him with resisting arrest and hindering a police officer.

Early on the morning of Dec. 24, Brian Blonder was arrested in the Garrison Precinct on the indecent-exposure charge, Toohey said. He was released on his own recognizance. The new charges, resisting arrest and hindering a police officer, had not reached the commissioner on duty, Toohey said.

Son uses father's address

On Dec. 30, Brian Blonder spent the night with his parents, something he does infrequently, his father said. He slept on a mattress in the basement, where the guns were kept.

"It just happened Tuesday night he slept at my house," his father said. Brian Blonder has not lived at his parents' home for 11 years, his father said, while acknowledging that when he was arrested, Brian Blonder had given his father's Owings Mills address as his own.

When police arrived shortly after 10 a.m. Dec. 31, Brian Blonder was there. Police arrested him and took him into custody.

That evening, police returned to the Blonder residence, showed a warrant and carried the 74 long guns in Robert Blonder's collection out of the house and into a pickup truck, he said.

Police said they did not need to confiscate his handguns, which are kept under lock and key, Blonder said.

They did take a muffler Robert Blonder had been making for his lawn mower.

"I was making it because I have an old mower and I can't get parts for it," he said. "The detective said, 'It looks like a silencer,' and he took it," despite Robert Blonder's explanation of the metal tube's intended use.

Attorney retained

Police verified that they returned to the house and took guns and a metal tube.

"There are federal and state laws prohibiting felons and guns from connecting," said Toohey, the police spokesman. "Our cops say [Brian Blonder] was living there."

Brian Blonder was released from custody Jan. 2, jail officials said. He is not living at his parents' house, his father said.

Robert Blonder has retained attorney Harry L. Chase to help him get the guns back. Leo W. Ottey Jr., an associate of Chase's who is working on the case, said the matter might not have to go to court.

"We are hoping that the matter can be resolved amicably," Ottey said. "We think that the police did not have all the relevant facts at the time of the seizure."

Robert Blonder wonders why his gun collection was confiscated at all. "It doesn't seem like there was a real reason," he said.

Pub Date: 1/17/98

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