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Maryland 'joker' threat suspect had gun collector's permit

Maryland State PolicePitney Bowes Incorporated

The Crofton gun owner who police say threatened to shoot up his former workplace held a collector's permit that allowed him to purchase more than one regulated firearm per month, according to documents obtained by The Baltimore Sun.

Neil Edwin Prescott, 28, bought and registered nine firearms in the year since his application was approved Aug. 16 — eight of them in the past four months, records from the Maryland State Police show. The records were received through a state Public Information Act request.

He applied to purchase his most recent gun, a .22-caliber pistol, just two weeks beforePrince George's Countypolice raided his apartment last Friday and seized two dozen legally owned weapons along with thousands of rounds of ammunition.

Prescott was taken into custody for a psychological evaluation and remained voluntarily in the care of mental heath experts as of Wednesday, when he was charged with misdemeanor telephone misuse.

Police say Prescott called his former boss and said he planned to "load my guns and blow everybody up" at the Capitol Heights Pitney Bowes where the two men had worked together. Authorities also said he described himself as a "joker," which they believed was a reference to the movie theater killings last month in Aurora, Colo.

The former boss knew of Prescott's gun collection, according to a police affidavit, and alerted law enforcement.

The state police records show Prescott applied on July 19, 2011, for the collector permit, which allows people to buy more than one gun in a 30-day period and freely transport them — unloaded and housed in a case or holster. On the line where the application asked him to describe the nature of his collecting activities, Prescott wrote "all lawful purposes."

Prescott applied for no other gun permits in Maryland.

tricia.bishop@baltsun.com

twitter.com/triciabishop

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