Metal eagle tops suspicious stash

The Baltimore Sun

Anybody lose a giant metal eagle with a 10-foot wingspan?

Anne Arundel County firefighters investigating a blaze at a Glen Burnie home on Monday discovered a large cache of weapons, metal and copper tubing, along with trash bags of rubber insulation, a gas tank from a Peterbilt tractor-trailer and the 4-foot-high eagle statue.

"The eagle is very unique. ... I can't recall anything similar to this being recovered," said Sgt. John Gilmer Jr, a county police spokesman, who added that the type of metal used to make the bronze-colored bird has not been determined. "It looks homemade and like it took some time to craft."

Police said the recovered materials might be linked to a spate of thefts in recent years at construction sites and other buildings, where thieves looking to capitalize on the rising price of scrap metal have sought out copper and aluminum items including wiring, conductors, air-conditioning units, tanks and ladders.

"We are hoping this will bring closure to many of the cases that are currently being investigated," said Gilmer.

The items were discovered after a small fire broke out in the basement of the one-story home on the 7800 block of Cheverly Lane, said Division Chief Michael Cox, a Fire Department spokesman.

As a matter of routine, investigators from the fire marshal's office were called to the scene.

Gilmer said police called to the house found several firearms, but he declined to specify their number, makes or models. Also seized were various types of welding cables, air-conditioner coils and tanks for R-22, a coolant used in air conditioners, refrigerators and freezers.

Several of the items recovered had serial numbers and were traced to owners who had reported them stolen, police said. The metal eagle and the large amount of copper tubing, however, had not been reported to police.

Police declined to identify the homeowner because no charges have been filed in the case.

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