Wednesday, October 7th, 2009
Weapons worth $16,000 stolen at area swap meet
By Margie Wuebker
The Mercer County Sheriff's Office continues to investigate the weekend theft of antique guns and knives valued at more than $16,000 from a swap meet exhibitor at the Progressive Sportsman Club near Fort Recovery.
Martin T. Griffiths of Avilla, Ind., discovered the weapons missing and contacted the sheriff's office shortly after 9:30 a.m. Sunday. He left his display tent between 7 and 8:45 a.m. to get some breakfast and returned to find all the flaps down as he left them. However, the items were missing from a table and display case inside, according to Chief Deputy Gery Thobe.
Among the 14 antique guns missing were various revolvers including two with 1899 patent dates. The oldest revolver taken from the display case was an 1862 Guardian Colt decorated with engraved ships on the cylinder and brass inlays on the handle. Griffiths indicated its value to be around $1,200.
There also were two English-issue revolvers, a German-issue Lugar and a Spanish-issue revolver, all dating back to World War II. Another weapon reportedly sported gold inlay on the cylinder and genuine mother of pearl handle.
The 10 knives were removed from a display table, with the thief or thieves apparently handling and moving other items around in the process. Authorities were checking for possible fingerprints.
The weapons, all of which bore serial numbers, have been entered as stolen in the Law Enforcement Automated Data System (LEADS).
Norman O. McKinney of Warsaw, Ind., another swap meet participant, approached deputies on the grounds and reported someone took a .22-caliber H & R revolver from his campsite. He discovered the chrome gun with black hand grips missing on Saturday and pegged its value at $85.