Homeless Man Possessed Vintage Working WWII-Era Machine Guns, Among Other Weapons

A homeless man was in possession of weapons, including two machine guns from the World War II era. Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies arrested the man after finding machine guns and other weapons and ammunition at an encampment. The man had five firearms, including two operable World War II-era machine guns. Despite their age, the vintage weapons were in good condition and functioning.

Sheriff’s Detective Dennis Elmore confirmed deputies patrolling a homeless encampment near Harbor City made the arrest, reported ABC News. The deputies were investigating an encampment on what they believed to be private property in the Los Angeles area. There, they chanced upon a man exiting his tent. It isn’t clear what led the deputies to investigate the interior of the tent, but moments later, the homeless man was in their custody. The man has been identified as Richard Cunningham, according to the statement released by the department.

“59-year-old Richard Cunningham was illegally in possession of, what appeared to be, two fully operational machine guns. Cunningham also possessed four handguns, two make-shift suppressors, and numerous rounds of ammunition.”

The homeless man was arrested on Saturday and is being held in lieu of $166,500 bail after being arraigned the day before at Compton Superior Court on numerous weapons violations, reported Reuters. Although the specific charges levied against him are currently unknown, illegal possession of weapons, no matter how old, is a serious crime.

Homeless Man Possessed Vintage, But Working WWII Era Machine Guns Among Other Weapons [Photo by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department]The department spokesperson, Detective Mark Pope, refrained from offering any information about how the deputies learned about the weapons, nor the make or model of weapons. However, two of the weapons were vintage but operational machine guns of the World War II era and such weapons have high monetary value. Antique dealers and vintage weapons collectors are always looking for such machine guns, and the fact that these guns are functioning exponentially increases their price. The sheriff’s office could be waiting for an evaluator to assess the weapons. Such weapons are often stolen and then re-sold. Fortunately, most of such vintage machine guns have intricate identification marks that can help investigators confirm if they have a legitimate owner or at least a paper trail.

The likelihood that the weapons, including the vintage machine guns, are stolen remains high because the homeless man has a prior conviction.

“The suspect was a previously convicted felon,” said the sheriff’s office, but authorities refrained from adding any more details.

Currently, the homeless man is at Carson Sheriff’s Station, where he was booked and held in lieu of $166,500 bail, reported Sport Act.

Los Angeles has quite a few encampments that are frequented by the homeless. These areas are prone to high crime rates and violence. There has been a persistent debate about whether these encampments should be policed or not. Such places often have a lot of immigrants who work as daily-wage workers. However, there are quite a few helpful souls who work to improve the condition of the homeless people.

Homeless Man Possessed Vintage, But Working WWII Era Machine Guns Among Other Weapons [Photo by Kimihiro Hoshino/Getty Images]Unfortunately, due to being unregulated, such encampments routinely witness tents being raided by other homeless people. Poverty and hunger, combined with drugs, are routine in these areas, according to police who have had numerous encounters in these rather dangerous neighborhoods.

Incidentally, a homeless man found a bag full of firearms that were stolen from a state Army reserve facility in a park in the Bronx, reported the Wall Street OTC. Although he promptly handed the bag over to the police, such incidents strongly indicate homeless encampments are a hub for crime.

The homeless man who was found with weapons was in one such encampment. This isn’t the first time deputies have recovered guns from homeless people, added the sheriff’s office.

[Photo by Josh Edelson/Getty Images]