SHAWANO COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) — Shawano County investigators make a huge bust seizing more than 60 guns, most thought to be stolen.
Detectives had been monitoring two burglary suspects and on Monday seized piles of what they believe were stolen goods after executing a search warrant in Mattoon.
“We were amazed – we were shocked. We’ve never had that many before, so yeah, it was a surprise,” said Shawano County Sheriff Adam Bieber.
The investigation isn’t over, yet Sheriff Bieber is all smiles. His detectives seized dozens of hunting rifles and shotguns, at least one ar-15, and several handguns.
Four people had been arrested as of Wednesday evening. Sheriff Bieber says they’ll face a slew of felony charges.
The sheriff also said arrests may not end at 4.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg. We’re going to keep on working this case and see where it goes,” he said.
The Sheriff says investigators had been following the suspects for several weeks, tracking their movement and placing them at the scene of several burglaries. None of suspects have been charged yet, so the department isn’t releasing their names. Sheriff Bieber says they’re linked to more than thirty cases so far.
“It’s really satisfying,” said the sheriff, “especially for our detectives that have worked so long and hard on these cases.”
Detectives have identified three of the guns as stolen, and are matching serial numbers to try and identify if/where the rest may have been stolen from.
“We know that this isn’t going to solve all the thefts and burglaries, but this is a large chunk of a problem that’s been in the area,” said Sheriff Bieber.
Sheriff Bieber amounts recovering the weapons to a major victory, especially if the department is able to return them to their rightful owners, but he says it’s troubling that so many items were taken from unlocked garages.
“You need to lock up your garages,” he says. “You need to write down serial numbers. You have to take proper precaution to secure your items, especially rifles because they can be used in other crimes.”
The suspects are expected to make their initial appearance in court on Monday.