Thompson submachine gun nets $90K for Ohio sheriff's office at auction
The money will be used to buy all deputies the same weapons, which will save on ammunition costs
By Jon Baker
NEW PHILADELPHIA, Ohio — The bidding started at $40,000, and went sky high from there.
A Thompson Model 1921 submachine gun that was purchased by the Tuscarawas County Sheriff's Office on May 13, 1934, and is no longer used.
After several minutes of spirited bidding Monday evening at the Tuscarawas County Justice Center, the weapon was sold for $90,000 - significantly higher than its appraised value of $37,000. The winning bid was placed by Ryan Armstrong of Dover, who was bidding for an anonymous purchaser.
The auction was conducted by Steve Cronebaugh of Cronebaugh Auction Service. He donated his service to the county for the event.
Several other weapons were sold during the evening, netting the sheriff's office $93,275, which will be used to purchase new weapons and other necessary equipment for deputies.
Sheriff Orvis Campbell was pleased with the amount brought by the submachine gun, saying that the bids showed support for his agency.
"I know that the buyer was apparently bidding for another individual," he said. "I believe that individual is local and he wanted that gun to stay local. I know that individual, if it's who I think it is, and he is a supporter of this office, so that makes me very, very happy.
"I continue to have mixed emotions, including getting somewhat sick to my stomach during that auction, because it just seemed unreal that it was going for that kind of money.
"Although I truly respect the history, our world is getting a little more violent, and my No. 1 priority is to make sure my guys have good equipment and training. We're not a bunch of killers. We're not going out to shoot and kill people, but I have a duty."
Thompson sub machine gun sells for $90,000 at auction Monday at Tuscarawas County Sheriff's Office. pic.twitter.com/UpuVcRkEYS— Jon Baker (@jbakerTR) September 12, 2017
Earlier this year, Campbell used seized drug money to buy patrol shields and a new sniper rifle.
"I want to get my guys the stuff that they need to be safe," he said.
The money will be used to buy all deputies the same weapons, which will save on ammunition costs, "and we'll start doing a lot more scenario-based training instead of just shooting at paper targets," Campbell said. "I want to make it more realistic."
One of the other weapons sold, a Savage rifle, was purchased by Sgt. Ed Jones of the department. His father, J.R. Jones, seized that gun many years ago when he was a deputy.
County Commissioner Chris Abbuhl, who attended the auction with Commissioner Joe Sciarretti, said he was excited by the results of the auction.
"It's going to be a benefit to the sheriff's department to be able to purchase additional equipment and things the sheriff thinks are necessary for the operations of the department," he said. "This is a huge boost for the sheriff's department."
Abbuhl was surprised by the amount the sub machine brought at the auction.
"I can't fathom that kind of money for a firearm, but I'm glad there are people who have a passion for that, and have that type of expendable money," he said. "I'm glad that they showed up tonight. Not only are they adding to their collection but they're helping out the sheriff's department for law enforcement."
©2017 The Times-Reporter, New Philadelphia, Ohio