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Man unloads 58 guns at Compton weapons exchange

The donor receives several thousand dollars in supermarket gift cards in annual 'gifts for guns' program. 'That should feed someone for a year or two,' a sheriff's deputy says.

December 30, 2009|By Richard Winton
  • Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies inspect and inventory about a dozen civilian versions of military assault rifles during the annual "gift for guns" exchange program in Compton. One man turned in dozens of weapons.
Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies inspect and inventory about… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)

Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies expected heavy business Tuesday during its annual "gifts for guns" program in Compton.

And sure enough, scores of people lined up to turn in various weapons in exchange for retail and supermarket gift cards.

But they were surprised at the man who pulled up in a sport utility vehicle with 58 guns -- mostly handguns but also some assault weapons. Dressed in a sweat shirt and jeans, the man offered his cache in a nonchalant fashion.

As is the policy for such events, deputies asked no questions and eagerly took the guns. They don't know the man's name, and the donor declined to comment to The Times. After unloading his guns, the man received several thousand dollars in gift cards and drove away.

"That should feed someone for a year or two," said Lt. Anthony Lucia. "There were a lot of the kind of weapons used in robberies. We don't know his identity. We don't know if he is a gun dealer or what."

The Compton exchange Tuesday garnered 232 guns, all of which will be destroyed.

The gifts for guns program has been a staple of the Sheriff's Department's crime- reduction efforts in Compton, which has seen a drop in homicides in recent years.

Lucia said the mystery man will likely remain a mystery. "It's 58 guns off the street," he said.

richard.winton@latimes.com

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