MARTINSBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — A Martinsburg man is in Blair County Prison on gun charges filed by two police departments on the same day.
George Stewart, 70, of Martinsburg, was arrested at just before 1 a.m. on Thursday in the Turkey Hill parking lot in East Freedom after a call to police from another convenience store where Stewart allegedly tried to buy alcohol while being visibly drunk, according to charges filed by Freedom Township police.
Police said Stewart had parked sideways in front of the store and Patrolman Tyler Grigg could see a silver-colored revolver sitting on the center console of Stewart’s Ford Edge.
Stewart told police the gun didn’t belong to him and he said he sold it to a friend, but when the serial number was checked, records showed it belonged to Stewart.
Stewart has a 2019 felony criminal trespass conviction that makes it illegal for him to own a gun, police noted.
Stewart was arraigned at Noon on Thursday and jailed in lieu of $15,000 cash bail.
At 3:15 p.m. Thursday, Blair Township police contacted Martinsburg police to ask officers to check for Stewart at his home on the 300 block of Locke Mountain Road over an abandoned vehicle parked in the township, according to charges filed in this case.
When police arrived at Stewart’s house, they found his front door hanging open and three boxes of .22 caliber ammunition sitting on the porch. Martinsburg police pointed out in the charges officers had been to Stewart’s home on Tuesday after Stewart became aggressive with EMS personnel who were trying to help him with a medical issue. At that time, Stewart allegedly made a comment about having a ‘bunch of guns,” but when an officer advised him that he should not have guns because of his criminal history, Stewart then said, “Oh, that’s right, you guys took all my guns,” Martinsburg police noted in the charges.
Police noted officers have been responding to Stewart’s home recently due to mental health issues and the beginnings of dementia.
On Tuesday, officers also discovered the door to Stewart’s detached garage had been forced open, causing the glass to break. A backdoor storm door was smashed and a window in the back of the house was also smashed out while inside, all the lights were on as well as the television.
Both front and back doors were unlocked and after calling out for Stewart and not getting an answer, police walked in to check on him due to what they had encountered up to that point with the state of the house.
While looking for Stewart in the house, police came across a double barrel shotgun on a bed in the basement. Two rifles were also seen in the basement along with two gun safes.
After not finding Stewart, cops secured the home and got a search warrant, according to court documents.
A search of the house and garage turned up a total of eight guns, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, gun parts and reloading equipment.
Stewart was arraigned Friday on eight new felony gun charges filed by Martinsburg police. Magisterial District Judge Andrew Blattenberger set bail at $80,000 cash with May 5 as the date of Stewart’s preliminary hearing.
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