Cowlitz Co. sheriff: Stolen guns found hidden in woods, rivers, - KPTV - FOX 12

Cowlitz Co. sheriff: Stolen guns found hidden in woods, rivers, homes, boat, lawnmower

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Photo: Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office Photo: Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office
Photos: Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office Photos: Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office
COWLITZ COUNTY, WA (KPTV) -

Six men were arrested and dozens of stolen guns were seized as part of a large burglary investigation by the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies reported Wednesday that more than 34 guns had been recovered, with 27 of them from one case.

The guns were stolen out of Longview and Olympia, with the first burglary occurring last November.

Investigators said the stolen guns had been hidden in the woods, in homes, in a boat, in a lawnmower and, in two cases, they were recovered by divers in local rivers.

Other items recovered during the course of the investigation including body armor, masks, ammunition and drug paraphernalia, according to deputies.

The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office stated Detective Riley McNeal and Detective Lorenzo Gladson spent hundreds of hours on this investigation.

The six suspects who were arrested were identified as:

  • Nicholas L. Wirkkala, 35, of Longview; unlawful possession of a firearm, possession with intent to deliver meth.
  • Brian John Willard, 37, of Kelso; unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of stolen firearm, possession of meth.
  • Zachary R. Sweetin, 33, of Longview; possession of stolen property, trafficking in stolen property and possession of meth.
  • David John Novy, 59, of Longview; possession of stolen firearms, making false statements and illegal transfer of firearms. He had previously been arrested in this investigation on separate charges of criminal conspiracy and trafficking stolen property (firearms).
  • Shannon Lee Chandler, 41, of Longview; First-degree burglary, possession of stolen firearms, unlawful possession of a firearm.
  • Keith L. Zigler, 47, of Castle Rock; Unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of stolen firearms, identity theft and possession of stolen property.

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