Riverside County Sheriff’s Department
Two rocket launchers and a practice grenade were found in a trash can earlier this week at a suspect’s residence near a California college, authorities said.
A Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Community Services Officer found the weapons while executing a search warrant in Temecula, California. Christopher Whetstone, 41, was arrested for grand larceny through video footage and fingerprint evidence.
“During service of a search warrant, evidence of the original crime was located, along with narcotics and a bazooka,” said RSD Sgt. Edward Soto.
Has the school been impacted?
Soto said, “Although there is a school located directly behind the affected residence, a school was not directly involved in the incident.”
Margarita Middle School is less than 3oo feet from the block where the weapons were found.
Are these guns legal?
Grenades and rocket launchers, also known as bazookas, are considered “destructive devices” under state firearms law. They are also classified as firearms and are therefore legal with proper registration.
However, states and localities have the power to further regulate or ban guns in their jurisdictions.
Possession of a destructive device is illegal in California, if it can be proven in court that it belonged and the person knew it was a destructive device.
The penalties for violating this law could be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the criminal history and the circumstances surrounding the offense.
As a misdemeanor, the crime is punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000. As a felony, perpetrators could face up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
However, legal arguments can be made if there is a license for the weapon.
Whetstone was arrested on Tuesday for robbery, tampering with a motor vehicle and possession of tear gas, among other charges, but not for possession of rocket launchers and grenades.
“We urge the public to call law enforcement if these items are found or if you wish to legally dispose of them,” the sheriff’s department wrote on Instagram. “Often they are found when cleaning up the belongings of a deceased relative. We would be happy to come and make sure they are safe and dispose of them properly (returned to the military).”