Retail theft investigation uncovers alleged scheme to resell stolen guns

HICKORY, N.C. — Deputies say they are investigating an “organized retail theft crime ring” at a business in Hickory.

Investigators said they seized dozens of weapons from the Gold King and its owner, Marty Christopher McDaniel. They said more than 20 of the firearms were stolen.

Channel 9′s Dave Faherty first broke news of the investigation earlier this week. Sheriff’s deputies told Faherty they have already recovered tens of thousands of dollars worth of stolen property.

Search warrants say the items were stolen from big box stores like Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart and Target. Investigators said hours later, the Gold King would sell them on eBay accounts.

On Monday, Faherty spotted sheriff’s deputies at the Gold King, where they said they spent hours recovering the stolen property.

According to the court documents, retail theft investigators with the stores captured images of the thefts and then did surveillance of the Gold King. Included in the search warrants are photos of people stealing items from the stores and then taking them to the Gold King, like a smoker stolen from Home Depot that was taken to the Gold King to be resold.

While searching the Gold King and its owner’s home, deputies also seized 57 firearms, more than 20 of which came back stolen.

Several of the guns were reported stolen from Brandi Chambers’ family in Lincolnton. She said they belonged to her grandfather.

“It’s a crazy piece of history that I thought was gone. It’s nice to see them here and OK,” Chambers said. “We didn’t think we’d get them back, so it means everything.”

McDaniel, the owner, has been charged with conspiracy and obtaining property by false pretenses. He declined to talk with Faherty about the case, but spoke with Channel 9 back in 2015 after helping deputies recover stolen antiques in Alexander County by photographing items that he bought and he shared those photos with law enforcement through an online service.

“We have backed law enforcement. We have worked with law enforcement. We do what we have to do, we do what we’re supposed to do,” he said then.

Deputies say they filled up a 20-foot rental truck with the stolen merchandise. They said much of it will be held in evidence until the case goes to court.

Now, deputies are working to return the stolen weapons to the rightful owners.

“There was an effort to resell these guns,” said Maj. Aaron Turk with the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office. “They were stolen in our county and surrounding counties.”

In a text message, McDaniel’s attorney said “he maintains his innocence.” McDaniel messaged Faherty on Facebook saying “they took stupid garbage from the store…the community has been nice to me.”

(WATCH BELOW: Hickory native tees off at US Open in Pinehurst)

Comments on this article