Saanich tent city residents discover gun parts in dumpster

Saanich Police investigating how parts sealed in evidence bags ended up in dumpster

Saanich Police are curious about how several dozen gun parts ended up in a dumpster near the homeless camp in Regina Park and are planning to speak to their owner, a man in his 20s.

Staff Sgt. Scott Treble of the Community Engagement Division with Saanich Police said Tuesday he did not wish to speculate about how the parts ended up in the dumpster, where residents of the tent city at Regina Park found them at around 9 p.m. Monday night and returned them to Saanich Police.

Treble said it is not clear how the gun parts, sealed in Saanich Police evidence bags, ended up in a dumpster behind the Red Lion Inn, two blocks away away from the camp. But the circumstances are unusual, he said.

“I wouldn’t be suprised if this were stolen property,” he said.

He added that the parts — mainly barrels and sliders along with other components — would not be usable if somebody were to put them together. The parts also did not include any ammunition, he said.

Treble said police had investigated the lawful owner of the parts in January 2017, after officers had seized these and other firearm parts from a Saanich storage locker in the 3900 block of Quadra Street.

Police, however, returned the parts to the then 20-year-old man after consulting with firearms experts with the National Weapons Enforcement Support Team (NWEST).

“They learned that the owner of the nearly one hundred firearm parts had no criminal history, held a valid Possession & Acquisition License (PAL) and that under the existing interpretation of the relevant national firearm laws, the owner was in lawful possession of the individual parts and had not committed any criminal offence,” said Treble, adding that the owner has a clean criminal record.

The discovery of the parts happened Monday night about two blocks away from the camp. The residents who discovered the parts handed them over to camp leader Chrissy Brett, who then contacted Saanich Police, to show the camp’s commitment towards having good relations with local authorities.

Treble praised the actions of the residents for having done the right thing. “Police are grateful to the individuals who turned these items in,” he said.

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