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Seized guns from Island Outfitters likely to be returned

Feb 08 2012

A Saanich outdoor sporting goods store that was the victim of a $250,000 firearms theft will likely have the guns returned to it, Saanich police said.

Last week, police seized 159 firearms, which were allegedly stolen over four years by a manager at Island Outfitters on Douglas Street.

Police spokesman Sgt. Dean Jantzen said because the firearms were registered, there is a paper trail, which will make it easier to catalogue evidence and return it to the store.

Island Outfitters coowner Darren Wright said Monday the loss of merchandise worth $250,000 was a huge hit to the small business. Co-owner Ward Bond said the store hopes the items will be returned.

Jantzen said police may be able to return the goods before a criminal trial.

"This is a small Saanich retailer and they have a good reputation in the community," Jantzen said. "I think, as a community, we're pleased that they'll have the ability to recover some of these items and cover some of their losses."

Lucky Jhagra, 40, was arrested at the store Thursday after a year-end audit resulted in inconsistencies. A search of his home later that night turned up 159 guns, including a semi-automatic assault rifle, antique pistols, a collectors-edition Desert Eagle, Glock handguns and rifles.

Police allege the "long-term, trusted" employee ordered the guns through the store's inventory, then doctored paperwork to look like he was the owner. The guns were part of the gun enthusiast's personal collection. Jhagra is a firearms instructor and an executive member of the Victoria Fish and Game Protection Association. Members of the association expressed shock at his arrest.

Jhagra has yet to be charged but was released on a promise to appear in court for March 15, facing theft over $5,000 and weapons charges.

kderosa@timescolonist.com

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