Man reports antique gun thefts

SAXTON – A Bedford County man told police someone broke into his home early last month, drank a case of his beer and stole seven guns, including a “pre-Civil War dueling pistol.”

In a summary released Thursday, state police at Bedford said a Liberty Township man reported the Feb. 23 theft at his home just outside Saxton.

Someone broke into the house and drank a case of his beer, police said, then stole the guns, several of which appeared to be antiques. They included a dueling pistol – commonly used to settle gentlemen’s disputes before the 19th century – a pair of blackpowder Derringer pistols and a circa-1914 shotgun, as well as three more modern rifles.

Estimated values on the stolen weapons weren’t immediately available, said state Trooper Jeff Petucci, but online appraisals show antique dueling pistols can sell for thousands of dollars.

Success varies in recovering stolen guns, Petucci said. Police usually file serial numbers to a database in case officers later find the weapons in criminals’ hands, but hunting rifles aren’t as likely as handguns to end up among criminals.

“A lot of the time, people will sell them; they’ll try to sell them back to a gun shop,” Petucci said. “We’ve had family members steal guns and sell them to friends.”

It’s not clear whether a 19th-century blackpowder pistol could even be filed in the gun database, he noted.

Several gun thefts have been reported in Bedford County over the past year.

In January 2013, thieves smashed a car into Saxton Outdoor Supply and stole dozens of handguns, police said. A day later, two Saxton men allegedly selling the guns were arrested in Baltimore after a police chase and violent crash.

State police have asked anyone with information on the Liberty Township theft to call the Bedford barracks at 623-6133.

Mirror Staff Writer Ryan Brown is at 946-7457.