Employees at a Washington State auto glass shop may have prevented crimes and violence when they brought what they saw in a customer’s car to the attention of local law enforcement officials.
On October 4, Fife, Washington police arrested Brady Lee Eltz, 39, after he allegedly brought a vehicle loaded with weapons, including machine guns, and a bullet hole into Cascade Auto Glass in Fife, Wash., for glass replacement.
Federal prosecutors indicted Eltz on November 9 charging him with unlawful possession of firearms, including machine guns, found in a car that he had brought to an auto glass shop for repair a month earlier.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington, police stopped at the shop where workers reported seeing firearms in the trunk of a vehicle Eltz allegedly brought in for repair. Workers also reported seeing a bullet hole in the car.
In the criminal complaint, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Special Agent Nathan Petrulak said Eltz was driving a black 2015 Mazda 3 with the rear sidelite missing and a bullet hole in the top front of the passenger door frame.
After the police arrested Eltz, they searched the shop’s bathroom, where he had fled. They found two 9 mm handguns, one of which had an illegal “auto-sear” switch installed, allowing the gun to be fired automatically, making it a machine gun, according to the federal indictment. The Glock had been reported stolen.
In the vehicle’s trunk, police found three more firearms, including a stolen rifle rigged to fire automatically. They also discovered a bag with two improvised explosive devices. Bomb technicians disarmed the explosives.
Police also found two additional rifles, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, latex face masks, body armor, gun sites, holsters, and other firearms accessories. Eltz also had GPS trackers, several knives, and a voice-changing device.
Prosecutors say Eltz’s prior criminal convictions, including one in 2013, make it illegal for him to possess a firearm. He had been sentenced to five years in prison for the 2013 offense.
Cascade Auto Glass declined to comment due to the ongoing federal investigation.
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