Rehab Crew Stumbles On AK-47, Mach 11

The developers of the new Clock Shop Lofts apartments recently stumbled upon a half-dozen high-power firearms buried beneath the floorboards of the former Hamilton Street factory complex.

That was the latest wrinkle to emerge in a Portland-based development company’s ongoing efforts to rehab the dilapidated former clock factory, strip club, and underground arts epicenter into 130 affordable apartments and artists lofts.

Josh Blevins, the director of historic redevelopment and government affairs for Reed Community Partners, the development company that owns the complex, told the Independent that his company is busy cleaning up the remaining asbestos, lead, PCBs, radium, and other environmental contaminants leftover at the site from its industrial past.

Contributed photosOn Saturday, Blevins said, a crew of environmental contractors was working away at 133 Hamilton St. when the “scrap guy” on Reed’s team found a veritable arsenal of weapons buried in the crawl space beneath the collapsing floorboards of Building 14.

Among the weapons found in that space, Blevins said, were an an AK-47, a Bullpup (a French automatic weapon), a 20-gauge sawed-off shotgun, and a Hi-point 9 mm rifle. (An earlier version of this story reported that the cache included an Uzi. The police subsequently confirmed the AK-47 and informed the Independent that what “looked like an Uzi” was actually a Mach 11)

The Reed employees on site at the time immediately called the police. Blevins said the contractor who found the weapons had spent 20 years in the Navy as an ordinance disposal tech, and was able to help the officers identify some of the weapons.

Blevins said that none of the weapons were loaded.

“We have no idea how they got there,” Blevins said, “or who they belong to.”

The now-abandoned clock factory has a colorful past, including as a host to storied underground venues. Rumors also swirled about alleged gang or organized crime activities in some of the space.

The police are working on tracking down the source of this latest find.

“At least they’re off the street,” Lt. Karl Jacobson, who heads the police department’s intelligence unit, said of the find. “At this point it’s a mystery. We’ll be investigating.”

City police told Blevins’ contractors that they could continue working at the site, despite the discovery of the buried weapons.

Independent of the recent weapons discovery, Blevins said, the Clock Shop developers are still working to surmount the hurdle of a sole remaining tenant, the Scores strip club, refusing to leave their commercial space at 85 Saint John St.

Last month, a state housing court judge ruled that the strip club owners have to vacate the premises by the end of the month due to the expiration of their lease. But on Feb. 20, Peter Forchetti, the owner of the strip club, filed an appeal on the decision. According to the state’s judicial system website, the appeal is next set to be heard before state Superior Court Judge John Cordani on March 21.

Blevins said that, beyond a few months more of requisite environmental remediation work, the Scores eviction dispute is the only obstacle standing in the way of the developers moving forward with construction at the former factory complex.

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posted by: robn on March 12, 2019  8:19am

The peculiar rifle is a “bullpup” not a “bullup”.

[Paul: Thanks for the correction.]

posted by: A_Republican on March 12, 2019  8:19am

I don’t see an Uzi or an AK. I see a Mac-10 and a .22 pistol that looks like and AK pistol. Good call on the Hi-Point. From what I can tell poking around the internet, the gun on the top looks like an SKS Bullpup conversion. That means it is a reconfigured Russian rifle—most certainly not a French FAMAS bullpup. With the possible exception of the Mac-10, these are all very poor quality firearms.

[Paul: Thank you!! I checked back with police who have the guns. They said you’re right! They said the stash included a gun that “looks like” an Uzi but is actually a Mach 11. They did say that one of the guns found is an indeed an AK 47. We have updated the story.]

posted by: jim1 on March 12, 2019  8:39am

I have owned 2 Uz’s {when I lived in Maine and was a class 3 dealer.

Don’t see one but I see a Cobra 9mm or ,380 gun,  just above the sawed off shotgun.

posted by: robn on March 12, 2019  9:22am

Does the NHPD have an resource that can (digitally automated) compare ballistics on these weapons to crime records?

posted by: thecove on March 12, 2019  10:06am

@robyn The state does…its called NIBIN.

posted by: elmcityale on March 12, 2019  10:34am

One wonders how many other such caches exist.  That would be an Ingram MAC-11, a .380ACP/9mm weapon that might have a fully automatic firing mode.  A “bullpup” is a style of rifle that has the magazine behind the firing control area, which shortens the overall length of the weapon (the Israeli Tavor is a good example of a modern version).

posted by: Urn Pendragon on March 12, 2019  12:14pm

Regardless is what type of firearms they are, the intent is clear; a cache of weapons someone is trying to hide. Who knows the reasons why, but they are now out of the hands of potential violent offenders.

Thank you to the police force & demolition construction workers.

Take care & be well.

posted by: wendy1 on March 12, 2019  2:17pm

Maybe rehab guy in the picture should be wearing a decent mask and gloves.

posted by: Bill Saunders on March 12, 2019  3:04pm

Urn,

Chances are those guns have been their for decades and are not part of some ‘on-going’ operation.
Though, as Robn pointed out, they may have a ‘history’ of their own…

posted by: RetiredGuy on March 12, 2019  3:26pm

Now I’m afraid to go poking around in the crawl space of my attic.

posted by: missthenighthawks on March 12, 2019  4:58pm

Not likely that someone would just forget about those weapons and leave them there unless they had to.  That leads me to suspect that the owner is sitting in a cell somewhere and didn’t get the opportunity to retrieve them; or worse, they’re a victim of being involved in that world.

posted by: Bill Saunders on March 12, 2019  5:42pm

MTNH,

That is the most likely explanation…

posted by: George Polk on March 13, 2019  2:02pm

Good thing the weapons where discovered on a Saturday or the nearby schools would have been put in Lock Down!

posted by: Bill Saunders on March 13, 2019  2:58pm

Retired Guy,

Funny you mention it.  One of my ‘personal’ family heirlooms is a Civil War era Powderhorn that my Grandfather found in the eaves of their Family Home.

posted by: William Kurtz on March 14, 2019  2:35pm

Gentrification vampires at work again, I see.

posted by: robn on March 14, 2019  2:41pm

Gentrification commandos?

posted by: William Kurtz on March 14, 2019  5:12pm

I think Hipster Commandos vs. Gentrification Vampires is the plot of the next installment in the Underworld franchise.