The American Legion Post 236 reported the rifles reported stolen to the Marshall County Sheriff's Office on Sept. 11. The M1 Garand rifles were the main combat rifles used by American forces in World War II and the Korean War. Today, they are used by the Calvert post as honor guard rifles and to salute fallen veterans.
According to a press release prepared by Trooper Endre Samu, public information officer at the KSP's post in Morehead, the rifles have a cash value of $10,000.
"I was elated. I didn't think we'd ever see [the weapons] again," American Legion Honor Guard Commander Tom Vasseur said.
Vasseur said the honor guard contacted the U.S. Army to obtain replacement rifles. In the interim, the post has used bolt-action Enfield M1917 rifles.
Vasseur added the weapons could be returned to the post sometime this week.
Samu said Trooper Newt Robinson arrested Josh McKee and Amanda Spencer of Tea Run Road in Fleming County on the strength of unrelated felony warrants. During the arrest, Robinson found six Garand rifles.
During a two-week investigation, Robinson confirmed the M1 Garands were the same weapons allegedly taken from the Calvert City American Legion. Samu's press release credited Robinson for taking initiative to solve an unreported crime by investigating the origin of the rifles he spotted. McKee and Spencer were charged with receiving stolen property.
Samu said he believed McKee and Spencer may be responsible for the burglary, but prosecutors often have an easier case proving the stolen property charge. The suspects could face additional charges in Marshall County.
Marshall County Attorney Jeff Edwards said he absolutely intended to file additional charges against McKee and Spencer, if warranted.
“With the evidence we have, we want to make sure anyone and everyone involved is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Edwards said.
Edwards added additional charges could include burglary and theft of items worth $10,000 or more. He planned to examine statutes to determine if he could seek a greater charge as firearms were involved and the suspects criminal histories to consider persistent felony offender enhancements. Both would allow prosecutors and jurors to consider longer sentences.
McKee remains in the Mason County Jail, while spencer remains in the Grant County Jail.