HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Bohemia gun shop owner was charged in a 20-count indictment Thursday following a seven-month investigation.
Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said 67-year-old Brian Andersen “purchased and possessed a number of illegal weapons, including illegal machine guns, unregistered automatic and semi-automatic handguns and a stolen firearm.”
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Spota said investigators found a .38 caliber revolver in Andersen’s store, which was allegedly used by a suspected drug dealer to fire on undercover police officers last August at a Holbrook gas station.
“This gun has been traced back to the defendant,” Spota told a group of reporters, including CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey.
Spota suggested that Andersen may have been supplying guns to scores of suspected criminals.
“One again we have a bad apple here,” Spota said. “Andersen was accumulating guns without care or concern for their lethal nature. He makes it very, very clear that there’s no inventory, there’s no nothing. It’s being sold under the table.”
Andersen is also accused of buying a fully-automatic .30 caliber M2 machine gun from an undercover detective.
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Hundreds of weapons and ammunition were also found inside the garage of Andersen’s East Patchogue home, including 10 unregistered handguns, a submachine gun and seven stolen guns.
“We were stunned to find the defendant carelessly storing hundreds of lethal weapons and ammo in the loft of his unlocked garage,” Spota said. “It is not unreasonable to wonder what could have happened if a mischievous teenager simply opened the door and found what we found.”
Andersen, an active member of the Patchogue Fire Department, pleaded not guilty to weapons possession and other charges. He was released on $100,000 cash bail, reports CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff.
He did not come to the door at his home Thursday night and the people inside didn’t say much.
“This guy is an upstanding gentleman. He’s done nothing wrong,” a voice from inside the house said.
Meanwhile, some nearby residents told CBS 2’s Hennessey they had no idea what was going on in their neighborhood. But others, like retired cop Pete McGreevy, who calls Andersen “Rambo,” weren’t surprised.
“He’s somewhat of a con artist and he’s just, leaves something to be desired,” McGreevy said.
Experts said this case is a chilling reminder of the need to plug the existing illegal gun loopholes.
“So that the police don’t have to have this kind of catch as catch can system, where it’s a hit-or-miss proposition,” said Eugene O’Donnell of John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
While Andersen’s business has been shut down, authorities said they have no idea how many other illegal guns have already traded hands.
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