It started with a tip to authorities and ended with a raid at a South Carolina home, where investigators found thousands of weapons stashed inside.
Now 51-year-old Brent Nicholson is behind bars on charges of possession of stolen property. And authorities are sifting through between 8,000 and 10,000 guns, trying to determine where they came from, Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Capt. Daniel Scott said.
There were so many guns inside the home and in a storage building nearby that investigators stopped counting after a while, Chesterfield County Sheriff Jay Brooks told The Charlotte Observer.
There were so many guns that they filled multiple tractor trailers with items they seized in the raid.
And there were so many guns, Brooks said, that top law enforcement officials from the area had never seen such a big stash.
“None of us have ever seen anything anywhere close to this,” Brooks told CNN affiliate WBTV. “No telling how many break-ins this will help wrap up.”
The raid began Friday and continued over the weekend, CNN affiliates reported. Nicholson was arrested in Union County, North Carolina, on Saturday, and is being held in the Chesterfield County Detention Center in South Carolina. His family did not immediately respond to a request for comment and it was not immediately clear whether he had obtained legal representation.
Brooks told WBTV that the case against Nicholson is still in the works, and he could make his first court appearance at a bond hearing later this week.
“He was hoarding most of it, but it’s all stolen material from all over numerous counties and it’s going to take a lot to sort all this out,” Brooks told CNN affiliate WSOC.
Guns weren’t the only thing hidden inside the home, according to investigators. They also found 150 chainsaws and numerous taxidermy supplies among what Brooks described to WBTV as a “menagerie” of stolen property. The value of items seized from the home could total $1 million, Scott said.
“People would steal anything and bring it to him,” Brooks told WBTV, “and they knew he would pay them cash for it.”