Gary Gordaneer collected guns most of his life — but no more.
He was given his first, a .22-calibre repeating rifle, as an 11-year-old boy. By 62, Gordaneer had accumulated as many as 80 weapons, which he estimates were worth about $500,000. “Now, they’re all gone,” says the 65-year-old.
Three years ago, on Feb. 10, 2006, thieves broke into Gordaneer’s Mississauga apartment. They busted through the front door and jimmied open three of the four large metal storage lockers.
The suspects made off with 42 handguns. The heist, one of a string of thefts targeting gun collections, is believed to be the largest cache of weapons stolen from an Ontario gun collector.
It’s an ongoing problem with no end in sight.
This past weekend, 12 legally registered firearms, including 10 handguns, were stolen from a Scarborough apartment in the Neilson Road and Crow Trail area. The weapons, which belonged to a gun club member, were stored in a locked cabinet.
On Thursday, police released surveillance footage of a stocky man believed to be in his early- to mid-20s, wearing a white hoodie and dark pants, entering the building through the front entrance, then exiting through the back door carrying large black boxes in each hand.
“All the work that my people are doing, getting guns off the streets, it’s not insignificant that 10 more handguns are out there … potentially making their way into the hands of criminals,” said Toronto police Chief Bill Blair.
The bottom line, he continued, is that, legal or not, those who store handguns in their home are potentially putting the public at risk.