Two people were arrested in Castaic Thursday after sheriff’s deputies received reports of suspicious activity in the area involving possible firearms.
A witness contacted the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station after observing a man and a woman in a restaurant parking lot placing a rifle in the backseat of a vehicle.
Deputies responded to the 27700 block of Lake Hughes Road and detained the vehicle’s occupants at gunpoint.
“Inside the vehicle, deputies found numerous air soft rifles and handguns,” a news release issued by station public information officer Shirley Miller said. “At least seven of the assault-style rifles had been altered, and appeared real, with safety tips removed.”
Lt. Leo Bauer said the practice of altering imitation firearms can pose a safety hazard to the public because of the strong similarities between real guns and what can be considered toy guns.
“There was a deliberate attempt for them to look real,” Bauer said, noting the replica weapons now at the station being logged for evidence looked real to those trained in firearms.
In past times, “toys looked like toys, but now we have toys that look like the real weapons,” the lieutenant said.
Bauer said people have become more aware of people showing off guns – real or not – and those possibly conducting their behavior in illicit or problematic ways.
“We’ve been getting quite a few calls from people who have seen these types of circumstances in public,” he said. “When you’re in the public confronting police officers, that poses a safety hazard.”
During the investigation, deputies found narcotics and several pieces of stolen mail in the vehicle.
Christopher Goertemiller, 21, and Carissa Shrophire, 22, were arrested on charges of altering imitation firearms, mail theft possession of narcotics and possession of narcotic paraphernalia, the sheriff’s station news release stated.
The case is still under investigation by Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station detectives.
Miller and Bauer encourage anyone who sees suspicious or criminal activity or hears something that alludes to a possibly dangerous or harmful circumstance is encouraged to contact the sheriff’s station at 661-255-1121.
“We need to have people step up and inform us and call us when they see something out of the ordinary or anything that’s a safety hazard so we can conduct an investigation and inquire,” Bauer said.