Michigan Couple Steals From Mother to Buy Weapons Arsenal

A husband and wife team, both school bus drivers, have been arrested and charged with embezzlement and other crimes. They allegedly stole tens of thousands of dollars from the wife’s sick mother and used it to buy a massive arsenal of weapons for their basement bunker.

Steve Nick, 33, and his wife, Sarah, 32, of Davison Township, both belong to the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia, Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell told reporters at a news conference Tuesday. Steven Nick is a gunner for the militia and Sarah Nick is as a medic and grenadier, WNEM-TV in Saginaw reported…

The sheriff said the couple allegedly embezzled more than $50,000 from Sarah Nick’s 67-year-old mother to buy the arsenal they stored in a bunker in the basement of their home. The arsenal included a 50-caliber machine gun, a sniper rifle with a suppressor, 17,000 rounds of ammunition, various firearm accessories and bulletproof vests, including one for their 9-year-old daughter.

The sheriff’s office investigating the couple began in August 2014 after an elder abuse task force discovered that the suspects allegedly were writing checks to themselves drawn on accounts belonging to Sarah Nick’s mother, who was ill.

I’m generally a supporter of the right to own guns, with all reasonable restrictions of course. But anyone who thinks they need an arsenal like this scares the shit out of me.

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  • Chiroptera

    …and bulletproof vests, including one for their 9-year-old daughter.

    Whoa! Can you get them with Hello Kitty all over them?

  • Kaintukee Bob

    I’m a bit more concerned by the fact that a militia apparently has grenadiers. And that their grenadier forces overlap their medics.

    Honestly, that makes no sense to me.

  • colnago80

    Well, there are some people, including some who commented here at one time, who insist that the 2nd amendment also prevents the government from outlawing personal ownership of nuclear weapons.

  • raven

    I’m out of touch with what is happening in Michigan.

    Then again, I’ve never actually been in touch with what is happening in Michigan.

    Seems like quite often there are stories like this in the national news and, of course, on Ed Brayton’s blog.

    Whoa! Can you get them with Hello Kitty all over them?

    Kitty cats are OK but I like the ones with little hearts all over them.

  • caseloweraz

    To be fair, they need a massive arsenal like that to attack the germs that are making the wife’s mother sick, amirite?

  • busterggi

    Anyone want to bet they are NOT Christian Republicans?

  • Georgia Sam

    Rambo wannabes, living in a cartoon-violence fantasy world.

  • brucegee1962

    Probably the type of folks who watch “The Walking Dead” as if it were utopian fiction.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    But anyone who thinks they need an arsenal like this scares the shit out of me.

    And I’m betting their most convincing defense will be that it’s okay, and none of our business, because they won’t actually USE any of those weapons they’re wasting so much money on. They’re “collectors,” and none of this should be taken to reflect badly on legitimate sportsmen.

    And probably mom was a liberal who wouldn’t buy her kids guns on her own, so it’s okay to steal from her because “SECOND AMENDMENT REMEDY!!!”

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    And that their grenadier forces overlap their medics.

    What, you think they should be beholden to international law? That’s a violation of our sovereignty! Oh, and “GUNS SAVE LIVES,” medics don’t.

  • John Pieret

    colnago80:

    there are some people, including some who commented here at one time, who insist that the 2nd amendment also prevents the government from outlawing personal ownership of nuclear weapons

    Well, the 2nd Amendment says “arms” without any sort of restriction. Of course, if Scalia actually followed his “original intent” bullshit, that would mean only muzzle-loading, black powder pistols, rifles and cannons, along with swords, knives and the like. If arms includes modern pistols and rifles, just how does one separate that from tanks, fighter jets and nukes, where the former are allowable “arms” for individuals to own and the latter aren’t?

  • kyoseki

    If arms includes modern pistols and rifles, just how does one separate that from tanks, fighter jets and nukes, where the former are allowable “arms” for individuals to own and the latter aren’t?

    AFAIK, nothing prohibits someone from owning a tank or a fighter jet at the moment other than cost.

    Every single shell/bomb has to be registered with the government as a destructive device, but the vehicle itself has no such restrictions (obviously if you want to use it in public airspace or on a public highway, then you have rules to follow).

  • eric

    And I’m betting their most convincing defense will be that it’s okay, and none of our business, because they won’t actually USE any of those weapons they’re wasting so much money on. They’re “collectors,”

    They are thieves, and it doesn’t matter if whether we approve or disapprove of what legal goods they bought with their stolen money, they will (hopefully) be put in jail for theft and their ill-gotten goods auctioned off in order to pay back the mom.

  • some bastard on the internet

    busterggi @6

    Anyone want to bet they are NOT Christian Republicans?

    I will, because they probably think Republicans are actually weak-kneed, liberal, commie plants!

  • John Pieret

    nothing prohibits someone from owning a tank or a fighter jet at the moment other than cost

    I’m pretty sure the government would not allow an individual American to purchase a fully capable F-16 or import a similar craft from abroad. It certainly wouldn’t allow you to fly it in US airspace. It might let you buy the airframe without armaments but that’s about all. There are, I believe, similar restrictions on private ownership of tanks. Of course, striped of firepower, they are not really “arms” anymore.

  • Al Dente

    kyosecki @12

    the vehicle itself has no such restrictions (obviously if you want to use it in public airspace or on a public highway, then you have rules to follow).

    Tanks and other tracked vehicles are not street legal.

  • pixiedust

    John P.

    I’m only passing on what I read somewhere (sorry no citation). “Arms” meant the kind of guns that a person could carry. Assuming that is true, a 1790s American would not have had a constitutional right to own, say, a cannon. It does make one wonder about, say, a shoulder mounted Stinger missile.

  • David Eriksen
  • David Eriksen

    I don’t understand how I keep screwing that up. I used to be able to make links work.

    http://www.scareyourboss.com/posts/2013/11/22/conversations-for-the-long-run

  • Georgia Sam

    Perhaps the silliest delusion afflicting these militia types is that they know something about military strategy & operations. One guy I know who was an “officer” in a militia explained to me that they don’t have separate combat & support units because they operate on an “everybody goes, everybody fights” model. (English translation: We don’t attract the kind of people who are interested in logistics, construction, intelligence, or any of that stuff; we just want to shoot people & blow things up.) Yeah, OK. What happens when your top intelligence officer is out on the front lines & gets captured? Oh, you don’t have anybody who specializes in intelligence? Your militia wouldn’t last 15 minutes against a single platoon of a real army.

  • felidae

    The fun part is that these clowns have the fantasy that they can outgun the US military whose repertory includes helicopter gunships, artillery and Abrams tanks

  • John Pieret

    pixiedust:

    1790s American would not have had a constitutional right to own, say, a cannon

    Well, in fact, individuals at the time did own cannons (though, most often, small ones) such as private ship owners and some frontier people. And, after all, it is the “United States Armed Services.” It’s hard to see just how you can parse the word “arms” to mean only “personal weapons” in common readings of the 2nd Amendment. It’s much easier if you remember the first part of the 2nd Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State …” Then, the individual member of the militia might be expected to bring the small arms, while the militia brought the big stuff. But people like these aren’t members of a well regulated militia (which, in any case, has been replaced by the National Guard), they are just wannabe WOLVERINES.

  • pixiedust

    John, I wish I could remember where I heard or read that interpretation — probably public radio. I think your sentence that begins “It’s much easier…” Is consistent with the argument as I remember it.

    Gotta agree with your last sentence. Those folks are lunatics.

  • kyoseki

    I’m pretty sure the government would not allow an individual American to purchase a fully capable F-16 or import a similar craft from abroad. It certainly wouldn’t allow you to fly it in US airspace.

    Yes, as I stated, flying it in US airspace or operating it on a public highway is restricted by other legislation, but ownership of the vehicle is not, in itself, actually illegal.

    It might let you buy the airframe without armaments but that’s about all. There are, I believe, similar restrictions on private ownership of tanks. Of course, striped of firepower, they are not really “arms” anymore.

    Can you point to an actual federal law that would stop someone from doing so?

    AFAIK there is remarkably little in the way of federal legislation on the ownership of things like artillery & explosives, they’re all just classified as “destructive devices” and you have to fill out quite a bit of paperwork to own one. You can own machine guns as long as they were manufactured prior to 1986.

    The hard part is finding someone to sell it to you – defense contractors won’t sell you anything the US military doesn’t want sold because they’ll suddenly find their defense contracts going to their competitors, but there’s nothing inherently illegal in the sale.

    The main thing stopping people from importing military aircraft from abroad is the cost – generally the only aircraft people can afford are things like Soviet jet trainers and I know there’s a few of those in private hands over here (the maintenance costs on military jet aircraft are phenomenal, so ownership is generally limited to people with more money than sense, which rules out local militia nutjob types since they have remarkably little of either).

    Of course, the entire US military is built around the concept of obliterating these kinds of vehicles in as short a time frame as possible, the lifespan of anyone attempting to operate such a vehicle is likely to be measured in minutes from the second they’re detected.

  • Artor

    Chiroptera, as Mr. Erickson has shown @19, you can certainly get your Hello Kitty vest. But you can get a nice Hello Kitty Assault Rifle to accessorize with it too!

    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/7f/64/c6/7f64c6c0fe563e5c24905919564435ba.jpg

  • Artor

    As for illegal military vehicles, a friend’s uncle owns a decommissioned Vietnam-era fighter jet he bought from a junkyard. It still had the 50-cal machine guns, which he thought was cool for a while, but since he didn’t have a license for them, he got nervous and buried them in a creekbed somewhere. But owning the jet was legal. I think he got it working, and was able to fly it once or twice before it bankrupted him.

    On a country road outside the next town over, there’s someone with an APC parked in his driveway. It looks like the machine gun is not kept on the mounts, but it still has a couple yards of 2″ cannon on the turret. I don’t know if the guy is retired military, or just a gung-ho Walter Sobchak-type. But he has his own “tank.” (Yes, I know it’s not really a tank. It has 6 wheels and no treads.)

  • lorn

    Generally it is the arms producers that won’t sell you the vehicles. Selling them to just anyone, cash and carry, tends to muddy their specialness, and one of their strongest reasons for being, their use as tokens of power. I used to know a man who had an F-86, a front line fighter in the early 50s. The weapons had been removed so it was considered just another small private jet. He said it was a couple of thousand dollars to fuel it for a couple of hours and a couple thousand more to have the engine rebuilt every few flights. Clearly a toy for the rich.

    Generally any military vehicle will go through a de-militarization process that will strip out the weapons, radios, and pretty much everything interesting. A man in California had an 6×6 Saladin armored car in the early 70s. It still had the cannon but I suspect the breech block had been removed and I’m sure there was no ammunition included, assuming there was no major screw-up. Mileage was around 4 miles/ gallon diesel.

  • John Pieret

    kyoseki:

    Can you point to an actual federal law that would stop someone from doing so

    Heh! No I can’t! Nor would I waste an erg of energy finding one.

    Maybe I haven’t made it clear what I have been doing here … making fun of the 2nd Amendment absolutists. Can you point to any example where the Federal (not to mention state and local) government wouldn’t freak out about some (of one of our many billionaires) nut who would pay out megabucks for an F-16 or an A1 Abrams Tank … when, at least. there are a whole lot of counties who’d like the technology? Talk about your “merchants of death”!

    Haven’t you noticed, when it comes to “national security,” laws, people, constitutions, and other minor impediments don’t apply?

  • Nick Gotts

    I’m generally a supporter of the right to own guns, with all reasonable restrictions

    You mean something like those we have in the UK, presumably?

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    And I’m betting their most convincing defense will be that it’s okay, and none of our business, because they won’t actually USE any of those weapons they’re wasting so much money on. They’re “collectors,” and none of this should be taken to reflect badly on legitimate sportsmen.

    That’s not a defence to embezzlement. I’m betting their defence will be to claim that mom signed some piece of paper or said something that gave them permission to take her money.

  • D. C. Sessions

    Can you point to any example where the Federal (not to mention state and local) government wouldn’t freak out about some (of one of our many billionaires) nut who would pay out megabucks for an F-16 or an A1 Abrams Tank … when, at least. there are a whole lot of counties who’d like the technology? Talk about your “merchants of death”!

    Well, Richard Elliot has his own Mirage (demilitarized and a long, long way from state of the art.)

    A while back I read an article about Larry Ellison and some of his billionaire buddies who had their own little mini-squadron of F-15s, minus weapons, fancy electronics, and afterburner. They’d get together from time to time and do some play formation flying, burning enough fuel in an afternoon to keep a good-sized high school going for a year.

    For no particular reason, I get the impression that they got tired of that and have gone on to running around in yachts the size of a WWII destroyer now.

  • sabrekgb

    I’m rather surprised, but it does seem that they actually purchased an honest-to-goodness machine gun. An M-2 Browning “Ma-Deuce”, by the look of it. Usually in these sorts of articles the term machine gun is tossed around when not appropriate…glad to see that’s not the case here. It’s mentioned that:

    “While nearly all of the guns appeared to be legal, Pickell said the couple was charged with possessing a short-barreled rifle after an AR-15 rifle that did not meet state minimum length guidelines was allegedly discovered in the home.”

    Since the M-2 is not mentioned as being illegal, i’m going to go ahead and assume they paid their tax stamp. Also, if you take a look at the photo in the linked article, it looks like several of the weapons were legit curios. I’m pretty sure i see a freekin’ flintlock, lol, as well as some Mosin-Nagants or similar.

    I don’t see any reason why anything they purchased with their ill-gotten gains should have been illegal. Probably not a good use of the money, but no worse (and arguably a lot better) than similar stories where the embezzled funds were used to purchase drugs or gambled away.

    The real story here is a pair of thieves stealing from a sick old woman. It’s not actually a gun story…that’s just what the lowlifes happened to have wasted the stolen cash on.

    There does seem to be some unwarranted 2nd amendment derision and some confusion going on in this thread, though. Like the silly notion that militia membership is (or should be) a requirement to exercise a right to keep and bear arms. Seems like the ability to own warbirds has been addressed, though. While definitely a hobby for the rich, they are out there.

    Sources (photo in second):

    1. http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2015/04/school_bus_drivers_with_allege.html

    2. http://davisonindex.mihomepaper.com/news/2015-04-09/Front_Page/Couple_found_in_possession_of_huge_cache_of_weapon.html