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Forensic evidence collected at armed home invasion in Summerford


Investigation into stolen handguns in Gander continues

TWILLINGATE, N.L. –  While no arrests have been made following the theft of four handguns in Gander, with at least one the firearms being used during a home invasion in Summerford earlier this month, headway is being made.

Corporal Ken Maher, with the Twillingate RCMP detachment, said, “With the assistance of a police dog from Grand Falls-Windsor, there was evidence seized near the victim’s residence.

He added, “Exhibits seized have been sent for forensic analysis and we are awaiting the results.”

The investigation took place following the Twillingate RCMP being called to a Summerford home in the early morning hours of June 8, after two suspects entered a residence by force. The homeowner confronted the two who, after an altercation, fled the scene.

A loaded handgun was left at the scene by the invaders, and was later verified to be one of the firearms stolen during a Gander break and enter between May 31 and June 2. The suspects were reported to have fled the scene in a 2000-2003 red Ford F-150 regular cab truck with a distinct-sounding engine issue.

Staff Sgt. Roger Flynn, with Gander’s RCMP Detachment, wasn’t available for immediate comment but confirmed via email that the investigation into the stolen firearms continues.

New and concerning

Maher said armed home invasions aren’t something the Twillingate RCMP has seen much of.

“There was another file of a home invasion. We arrested two individuals back in December, in Summerford,” he said. “For a loaded handgun, this is of concern and something new for us.”

Maher said there’s no reason to believe the two incidents are connected at this point in time.

With a stolen restricted firearm used during the home invasion, Maher isn’t casting blame on the gun owners.

“There are quite a few gun owners in our province, and pretty well every town has a collector or restricted gun owners, and usually those individuals take pretty good care of their firearms and keep them secured as per the regulations.”

“Lock it and hide it”

The news of restricted firearms being stolen in Gander wasn’t surprising news for Stephen Oldford, the area’s Rod and Gun Club president.

Because there had been a number break and enters taking place in Gander over the last several months, “I knew it was just a matter of time,” he said.

Oldford said it sounds scary to hear of handguns being stolen but added it’s no different than the provincial reports of non-restricted firearms, such as rifles and shotguns, being taken from homes and cabins.

According to the RCMP, the four firearms stolen between May 31 and June 2, belonged to a responsible gun owner and were properly stored.

And the Rod and Gun Club continues to echo the message of safe and responsible storage as a priority.

“Every one of my handguns has a trigger lock, and put in a locked case, which is something they teach during the training course,” Oldford said.

Furthermore, he recommends hiding the locked restricted firearm.

“Lock it and hide it,” Oldford said.

Furthermore, the club recommends placing keys to locks and gun safes in a secure area. And should a firearm be stolen, report it immediately.

Oldford acknowledges there is a stigma that paints restricted firearms in a negative light, but says it’s the very few who use guns inappropriately creating that perception.

With 140 rod and gun club members in the Gander area, he said approximately half are restricted firearm owners. These people, he said, are business owners, reputable citizens and community volunteers who put best practices forward in the handling of restricted firearms.

Member Sean Mullett agreed.

“The vast majority of people who have these firearms are responsible gun owners, for use at the range for sport, because it is a sport, and having a handgun is not unlike someone buying a $5,000 trap shot shotgun,” he said. “We’re not criminals, we’re responsible gun owners. We follow the law to the letter.”

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