Weapons cache seized from ex-cop

January 29, 2009 3:32:42 PM PST
State police seized nearly 260 guns and 500,000 rounds of ammunition from a four-acre site owned by a retired Vineland police officer. The weapons and ammunition were found Tuesday in Brian Hinkel's house, two outbuildings and a buried septic tank outfitted as a bunker. A live grenade also found at the property in Franklin Township, Gloucester County, was detonated, and forklifts were used to move about a dozen pallets of ammunition.

State police Sgt. Stephen Jones said authorities were trying to determine why Hinkel had so many weapons and so much ammunition, as well as whether any of those items were stolen or prohibited. Hinkel has not yet been charged in connection with the weapons or ammunition, but could faces charges soon.

Two state police troopers had gone to Hinkel's home Monday as part of a burglary investigation, Jones said Thursday. After speaking with Hinkel, the troopers told him they wanted to take him back to their office for further questioning.

The 59-year-old man asked if he could get a jacket from his home, and all three men went inside. Hinkel then allegedly grabbed a loaded .45-caliber handgun. One of the two troopers subdued him and the pair soon noticed other firearms in the residence, Jones said.

Hinkel was charged with three count of aggravated assault on a police officer, and later released on $10,000 bail. He did not immediately respond to a telephone message left at his home on Thursday, and Jones said he did not know if Hinkel had retained a lawyer.

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