Whatcom County deputies say 50 antique rifles likely were stolen

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDFebruary 25, 2014 

If you're missing about 50 antique rifles, you might want to give the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office a call.

Deputies found the guns - most manufactured from the late 1800s through the World War II era - when they responded to a domestic violence report Wednesday night, Feb. 19, in the 1100 block of Old Marine Drive.

A woman and her boyfriend got into an argument around 9:30 p.m., after she came home late. The boyfriend put a shotgun on the bed beside some shotgun shells and implied if she did that again, he'd shoot her, said Whatcom County Undersheriff Jeff Parks.

Deputies arrested the boyfriend: Steven Glen Binschus, 50, of the Marietta area.

Afterward authorities came across a large jobsite box, often used for storing tools, full of rifles made in France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Egypt and the United States, according to the sheriff's office. All of the guns are now being held by the sheriff's office for safe-keeping, because investigators have a strong hunch they're stolen.

"It became pretty obvious," Parks said. He declined to elaborate.

But none of the guns had been reported missing to local law enforcement. Some clues, like references to "the valley" found in follow-up investigation, have led detectives to think the guns might have been taken from Sudden Valley in recent months, Parks said.

For now, Binschus faces charges of reckless endangerment and felony harassment. He's out of jail on $50,000 bond. Under the conditions of his release, he can't have firearms. Binschus has no felony history in Washington state.

Photos of the antique guns hadn't been released Tuesday.

Anyone with tips can call detectives at 360-676-6650, regarding case 14A03306. For anonymous tips, call 360-715-7459 or toll free at 1-866-456-2157.

Reach Caleb Hutton at 360-715-2276 or caleb.hutton@bellinghamherald.com. Read his Dispatcher Blog at bellinghamherald.com/dispatcher-blog or follow him on Twitter at @bhamcrime.

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