Crime

Yelm teen among 8 arrested in theft of more than 50 guns

The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office arrested eight people Wednesday for allegedly stealing more than 50 firearms. The investigation took a turn when deputies ended up seizing 440 firearms from the victim in the case, who apparently owned them illegally.

In the course of investigating a report of stolen firearms, deputies arrested eight suspects for suspicion of stealing more than 50 fully automatic firearms. Deputies believe they have recovered all of the stolen firearms, some of which they said were sold, pawned or destroyed, according to the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office, headquartered in Kelso.

During the investigation, deputies learned the victim, in his 80s, owned close to 400 firearms. He had previous felony convictions and as a result, was prohibited from possessing the firearms legally, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Deputies spent all day at the property removing the firearms, some of which the sheriff’s office said appear to be fully automatic and some appear to be homemade. The Sheriff’s Office said they are considering charges.

The agency didn’t release the name of the victim or the location where the guns were stored. They said that to do so would hinder the stolen firearm investigation.

“We do not know why the victim had this extensive of a collection, but it appears it was simply that — a collection,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a press release. “There is no information that suggests the victim had any plans for criminal use of the firearms.

The sheriff’s office said there may be more arrests in the case, but released the names of the eight suspects arrested Wednesday:

▪ Skylar Smith, 19, of Yelm was arrested on suspicion of burglary, trafficking of stolen property and theft of firearm

▪ Justin C. Gillman, 19, of Longview was arrested on suspicion of burglary, theft of firearm and trafficking stolen property.

▪ Mycah U. Mendoza, 18, of Kelso was arrested on suspicion of burglary and theft of firearm.

▪ Kyle M. Lopez, 17, of Kelso was arrested on suspicion of burglary and theft of firearm.

▪ Nicholas A Bradley, 15, of Kelso was arrested on suspicion of burglary and theft of firearm

▪ Brent A. Bradley, 16, of Kelso was arrested on suspicion of burglary and theft of a firearm

▪ Rodney Milliman, 16y of Longview was arrested on suspicion of felony burglary and trafficking in stolen property.

▪ William Justin Milliman, 17, whose city of residence was not available, was arrested on suspicion of burglary and theft of firearm.

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