NC man who had real firearms disguised as Nerf guns had a child in the home, sheriff says

North Carolina news

CATAWBA COUNTY, N.C. (WJZY) – Dangerous guns, painted like toys. Deputies found real guns disguised as toys at the home of a local man arrested on drug charges Wednesday.

And it wasn’t just one gun deputies discovered, but a plethora.

The Catawba County Sheriff Don Brown tells WJZY this is something he’s never seen in his decades as a law enforcement officer. Brown said the suspect, Damien Alonzo Burch, 35, is already out of jail.

Burch has been charged with felonious possession of cocaine, felonious possession of mushrooms, and misdemeanor possession of marijuana. He was being held on a $20,000 unsecured bond.

The sheriff said when deputies took away the guns, money, and drugs there was also a child inside the home. On Friday, WJZY spoke to one gun shop owner who explained just how dangerous something like this is.

“You’re looking at shotguns, he’s got quite a few pistols. He’s converted some of the pistols into those Nerf firearms,” said Tim Harwood with USA Tactical Firearms.

Harwood said converting real firearms into looking like toys has become a tactic for felons trying to illegally carry weapons.

“I believe it’s getting more and more prevalent out there, unfortunately. But again, criminals are not going to obey, you know the laws, and that’s good that we’re getting these types of firearms off the street,” he said.

Brown said this seizure was extremely concerning, especially since there was a child present.

“I personally have not seen this in my 33 years of law enforcement,” he said.

Brown said he doesn’t think letting Burch out on bond was the right decision but it was up to the magistrate.

“Any time we arrest someone for illicit drugs, in our eyes, they’re a threat to our community because they’re going to continue to possess, sell, and distribute,” Brown said.

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