Lethbridge Herald, August 4, 2009, House torched, guns stolen
Posted by cgccanada on August 6, 2009
A Fort Macleod gun enthusiast suspects he was targeted by thieves who made off with five of his guns and torched his home on the weekend. “They targeted me. They know me, but I don’t know who it is,” said homeowner Rod Burton, who keeps his collection of more than a dozen weapons secured in a special gun room in his basement. “They went after my pistol, and (now) it’s out there,” he said, adding four of his rifles are also missing. “I made (the gun room) fire retardant. They lit a fire and it wouldn’t burn,” said Burton, a local gun club member and avid target shooter. According to Burton, thieves forced their way into his home between midnight and 2 a.m. Saturday while he was out of town, broke into his locked gun room and then tried to set the room on fire. Later the same day, between 5-6 p.m., it’s suspected someone threw what may have been a molotov cocktail through his kitchen window, setting the house on fire. Burton suspects the thieves ransacked the rest of the house on their first visit in an attempt to hide the fact they were really after his guns and later torched the house to destroy any fingerprints or other evidence they may have left behind. Fort Macleod RCMP, meanwhile, are staying tight-lipped about their investigation other than to confirm there was a suspicious fire at the home, located along a busy one-way street in the downtown area. Const. Stephen Hynes wouldn’t confirm Burton’s allegation about the stolen guns and described talk of a molotov cocktail as the cause of the second fire as “speculation”, at this point. RCMP and firefighters were dispatched to the home just before 2 a.m. Saturday. Had the rest of the gun collection not been locked up, Burton said, those responsible may have gotten away with more weapons. He was vacationing in Winnipeg when a friend called early Saturday morning to alert him about the first break-in. It wasn’t until he arrived back home just after midnight Sunday that he learned his home had been targeted a second time. So far, he said, RCMP have told him little about their investigation. “They’re keeping me right out of it — probably a good thing,” he said, adding if he knew the culprits’ identities, he might have been tempted to take matters into his own hands. “It was stupid (of them) to take on someone who knows how to shoot,” he said. “If I knew who they were, I’d probably be in jail (by now).” Burton estimates the damage to his kitchen and basement at as much as $60,000.
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