Five charged in theft from gun collector

Home burglarized

shotguns and rifles among weapons

Six of 11 are recovered

Motel, houses raided by Anne Arundel, Balto. County police

April 12, 2001|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

When Daniel Puckett went home Monday night and discovered his front door open, his $10,000 gun collection missing, images of the Columbine High School shooting flashed in his head, he says.

"With all the violence involving kids these days, my first thought was that someone would be killed with one of my guns," said Puckett, an antique and gun collector from Glen Burnie.

By early yesterday, Anne Arundel and Baltimore County police had arrested five young suspects and recovered a cache of firearms, including two assault rifles stolen from Puckett's house while he was out meeting with a real estate agent - one of the few times, he says, he neglected to activate his home's security system.

FOR THE RECORD - In an article in Thursday's Anne Arundel edition, the nickname of one of the suspects charged with theft and gun possession was incorrect. "Smurf" is the nickname of another teen known to the suspects, but who has not been charged in the incident, according to police. The Sun regrets the error.

"At least most of them are in good hands now," said Puckett - relieved that police had recovered six of the 11 weapons taken in the burglary, guns that detectives suspected would be sold on the street. Police said they also recovered two shotguns taken elsewhere.

The burglary occurred, Puckett said, after he showed the gun collection to his girlfriend's nephew - and was solved after he talked to the teen-ager and accompanied him to the Northern District to speak with police.

"I don't have children in the house. I live in a peaceful neighborhood on the water. I had no worries," he said. "I always thought the guns were safe."

Puckett said most of his collection, which includes several pistol-grip, 12-gauge shotguns, was designed for hunting.

Anne Arundel police had help tracking the guns and suspects from Baltimore County detectives, who are guests in the Northern District offices while their Wilkens Precinct station is being renovated.

Late Tuesday into early yesterday, officers arrested all five suspects in the case, raiding homes in Baltimore and Lansdowne and a room at a motel on Caton Avenue in the city.

At a rowhouse in the 3000 block of Huron Ave. in Baltimore, police arrested Christopher M. Dolle, 19, on theft charges and reported recovering two assault rifles and three pistol-grip, 12-gauge pump-action shotguns, two of which had not come from the Glen Burnie burglary.

Christopher L. Reisinger, 16, was charged as an adult with theft and handgun possession when he was arrested near his home in the 200 block of Hazel Ave. in Lansdowne.

At the motel, Kenneth J. Smith Jr., 20, of the 300 block of English Consul Ave. in Baltimore and Paul E. Gardner, 17, of the 1900 block of Maltravers Road in Glen Burnie were arrested and charged with theft, burglary and possession of a handgun. Gardner was charged as an adult, police said. Also arrested on those charges was Robert B. "Smurf" Shortt Jr., 19, of the 500 block of Carlsbad Court in Lansdowne.

Lt. Joseph E. Jordan, an Anne Arundel police spokesman, said several of the suspects were cooperative and led police to the 2300 block of Alma Road in Lansdowne, where they found another 12-gauge shotgun and a bolt action shotgun - both from Puckett's collection, and designed for hunting large game.

Police said they also were led to a wooded area in the 2100 block of Deering Ave. in Baltimore, where they recovered a .40-caliber Glock handgun, which Puckett said has a fake silencer that serves only to weigh down the gun to make it more accurate in target practice.

The recovered guns are the first batch that Anne Arundel County police will enter into a national database maintained by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Puckett said he lost more than guns in the burglary, discovering yesterday that several other antiques were stolen, including a collection of silver dollars he and his mother had been assembling since he was a child.

"They took whatever they could fit in their pockets and under their jackets," said Puckett. "My mother's going to be heartbroken."

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