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Md. man charged with theft of 30 guns

December 20, 1999|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A Hagerstown man serving a prison sentence in Maryland has been charged with the theft of 30 handguns from a Chambersburg sporting goods store last summer, according to borough police.

Criminal complaints of burglary and theft were filed Thursday against Steven L. Silverman, 30, address unavailable, at District Justice Gary L. Carter's office, according to police.

Silverman is an inmate at the Maryland Correctional Institution in Hagerstown, where he is serving a four-year sentence for larceny and possession of cocaine, according to a prison official.

A fingerprint found on a piece of broken glass at Shoemaker's Sporting Goods, 763 S. Second St., led investigators to Silverman, according to the affidavit of probable cause filed by Detective Matthew Coy.

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The burglary occurred at 4:30 a.m. on June 17 when someone entered the store by breaking a basement window.

Once inside the thief or thieves stole the 30 firearms, which included .357-, .38- and .45-caliber pistols, police said.

The affidavit said the glass on a display case was smashed and a fingerprint found on the glass was made by someone picking up the piece after it was broken.

The fingerprint found by Detective Scott Mummert was sent to the Pennsylvania State Police laboratory and it was identified through a check with the FBI, according to Detective. Sgt. Dianne Kelso.

While it took about a month to match the print, Kelso said charges were not immediately filed because Silverman was already in custody.

"It was a calculated decision. We were, and still are, investigating the possibility of accomplices," she said.

No one else has been charged in the break-in as yet, she said.

Silverman was arrested in the Baltimore area on unrelated charges a few days after the Shoemaker's burglary, Kelso said.

Kelso said it was a joint investigation with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. "They may file corresponding federal charges," she said.

The affidavit said ATF Special Agent Mark Bender interviewed a Baltimore man, Paul Young, 31, who said he had been paged in June by a man saying he had 25 guns to sell.

Young said the man came to his house with the weapons, according to the affidavit.

Young said he helped sell the guns for $1,500 and the two men then went to Ocean City, Md.

The affidavit said authorities confirmed Young checked into an Ocean City motel on June 18.

The report said eight of the 30 handguns have been recovered by Baltimore City Police during the course of the investigation.

The 30 guns were worth $11,361, according to the affidavit.

No arraignment date has been set for Silverman. Kelso said that will depend on how long extradition proceedings against Silverman take.

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