The Suffolk County Crime Lab this week completed testing on many of the more than seven dozen illegal handguns it seized in January from a Centereach home, officials said.
District Attorney Thomas Spota said in a statement Thursday that his office would conduct a news conference about the confiscation of the guns as well as a device used to convert an AR-17 rifle into a “fully automatic machine gun.”
Authorities said Jay R. Steiner, 66, was arrested and charged with illegal weapons possession after investigators confiscated more than 300 guns, as well as ammunition, from his home, which is less than 300 feet from Centereach High School.
Steiner, who the district attorney said was operating “an illegal gunsmithing business” from his house, has been charged with one count of first-degree criminal possession of a weapon — that is, illegal possession of more than 10 operable firearms — and was released on $50,000 bond or $25,000 cash bail.
Spota has scheduled a news conference for late Thursday morning to detail the investigation and arrest.
Authorities said Steiner was arrested after members of the district attorney’s Gun Suppression Team executed a search warrant at the house.
That team found five loaded handguns in an unlocked dresser drawer in the master bedroom, Spota‘s office said in a statement. More than seven-dozen additional handguns, as well as long guns and ammunition, also were recovered, according to the statement.
In addition, Spota said, the team recovered devices used to convert an AR-15 rifle into a fully automatic machine gun.
“Most of the guns recovered from this defendant’s home were not under lock and key,” Spota said in a statement. “We found them scattered among various rooms in the house and in an unlocked attic.”
The district attorney said “even more alarming” is that the house is in an area “where there have been several burglaries over the past 12 months.”
After Steiner was arraigned in January, his attorney, William Eppig of West Islip said that “most of what he had was antique guns, some of which are quite valuable.”
Eppig said Steiner is a collector and had retired from the firearms business about six years ago. “He’s a 66-year-old man, retired, living with his wife and his child,” the attorney said then. “He’s certainly not a terrorist.”
This old guy should sue for home invasion, damage to his reputation and theft of his personal property. He lives in an area with crime. While he doesn’t need 300 guns for personal protection, guns were his business and now his hobby. Any laws he violated are probably unconstitutional. Someone could also steal his car and use that to kill someone. Should his car be confiscated as well?
I wonder if the Gun Suppression Team has any guns.