Rifles Stolen From Sabula American Legion-Update Arrest - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Rifles Stolen From Sabula American Legion-Update Arrest

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Update: Sabula police report they have arrested a suspect in connection with a break-in at the American Legion Hall in Sabula, Iowa. 26-year-old Bradley Widener is charged with burglary and possession of stolen property. He is also facing drug charges.

Authorities say eight of the 14 rifles were recovered. Six were sold. Jackson County and state conservation officers helped make the arrest.

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The Iowa state crime lab is helping investigate a theft in Sabula. Someone broke into an American Legion Post and got away with all 14 of the ceremonial rifles. Two are still able to shoot, but the rest were deactivated. They were used in parades and military funerals.

The M1 Garand is highly sought after in the collectors market. They're not made anymore, making them very valuable.  It's the weapon that American soldiers used to defeat Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan during World War Two. And veterans groups use these rifles in their honor guards.

The Sabula American Legion Post bought their's in 1998, using donations from the surrounding community. Sabula American Legion Post finance officer Richard Haynes says, "It's like stealing the American Flag, or going in church and stealing stuff."

Haynes had just checked on the post a few days ago. But police say Monday night, a burglar broke in through two back doors. Making their way to the post's gun cases.

"The locks are gone there's no metal filings so they didn't saw 'em, they used bolt cutters to get em open," says Haynes.

The thief stole all the rifles in the cases. Leaving the Legion without its arms for honor guard duty.

"A lot of mostly widows they depend on something like that, it's part of the ceremony," says Haynes.

"I hope whoever got it shoots his foot off," says Ilene Miller.

Joking is one way for to those to cope with their anger. Ilene Miller's late husband bought a rifle for the post. A Marine veteran, he was an avid hunter.

"We both did, we both went duck hunting, and he ran the boat and I sat in front with a gun," says Miller.

Her husband died of cancer nine years ago. The American Legion honor guard was at his funeral. Using the now stolen rifles. A fact Miller says makes this crime worse.

"They're taking away from everybody when they do that, because the Legion always with the cemeteries and the funerals, and stuff like that and now with no guns what are they going to do?"

The thief didn't find one rifle Monday night. And the police are looking for the rest. But if they don't turn up, Ilene says she'll donate another.

The Sabula American Legion can borrow the V.F.W's rifles for now if they're needed for a ceremony.

The serial numbers of the stolen rifles are listed in a national database.

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