“What was one man doing with all that firepower?”
That was the breathless question posed by Los Angeles local media after LAPD and federal agents seized over 1,000 firearms and “thousands of rounds of ammunition” from a man living in a mansion in the Holmby Hills neighborhood in West LA. Authorities said they also found a large amount of firearm-manufacturing equipment and tools, according to the LA Times.
“I had never seen so many weapons in my career of 31 years,” said LAPD Lt. Chris Ramirez. “That’s such a big arsenal in a residence like this, in this type of neighborhood. It’s astounding.”
“This type of neighborhood” is also home to the Playboy Mansion, so it’s unclear why a man living in a luxury home wouldn’t have a large collection of firearms.
The suspect has been identified as Girard Damien Saenz from Los Angeles. The LAPD received a tip Wednesday that someone was manufacturing and selling firearms out of the home, and ATF agents assisted with the execution of the search warrant.
Secure storage doesn’t seem to have been high on Saenz’s priority list. The weapons were described as “stacked all around the home” and the rooms were “cluttered with guns and ammunition,” according to local media. Rifles, shotguns, and handguns were all confiscated, including both modern weapons and collectible rifles dating back to the Civil War.
Ramirez admitted that owning a large collection of firearms isn’t illegal. But being in the business of selling firearms without a federal license is against the law, and Saenz was booked for unlawful transportation, giving, lending or selling of an assault weapon. More local, state and federal charges could be added as officials document and trace the firearms in his collection.
Saenz was the only person home and the only person taken into custody.
Saenz’s neighbors said they had no idea he had so many firearms.
“I would never, ever think anybody would be wanting to pack so much in this neighborhood. It scares the wits out of you,” said Rabbi Chaim Mentz. “What does my next door neighbor have? What does your next door neighbor have?”
The home is owned by a woman named Cynthia Dianne Beck, who owns several other properties around Southern California, NBC4 reports. The LA Times noted that Beck was the mistress of billionaire Gordon Getty, who was himself a big Democratic donor. Getty helped fund campaigns by Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry and Gavin Newsom.
It’s unclear that Beck knew of or was involved in Saenz’s alleged activities, though the pair jointly owns several other pieces of property in LA and an office building in San Francisco.
But if police really wants to get to the bottom of this, they should hire this reporter, who can identify “fully automatic” firearms from 800ft.