Four men arrested for weapons charges within five days in Kewanee

KEWANEE, Illinois — Within five days, four men were arrested for gun-related charges around Kewanee, Illinois.

In the first of three incidents, two .22 caliber rifles were found hidden in someone’s backyard in the 900 block of North Main Street, according to a statement from the Kewanee Police Department.  Police were called to the scene early on Monday, August 26.  The man accused of trying to hide the rifles was arrested when he returned to pick them up.

The rifles were found to be stolen from a home in Neponset, Illinois. Police said 31-year-old Justin M. Cox and 39-year-old William P. Merritt, both from Kewanee, were arrested in connection and taken to the Henry County Jail.

Two days later, on Wednesday, August 28, officers responded to an altercation near Fairview Homes in the 400 block of North Lakeview Avenue, said police.  The people involved were threatening to come back with a gun.

As police talked with one of the people involved, two more people drove up to the area “at a high rate of speed,” said police.

“The suspects did not stop but abruptly parked around the corner after observing the officers on scene,” read the police statement.

The driver ran away and police said he disappeared into a driveway near a backyard fence in the 800 block of East 4th Street. A few seconds later, the driver walked back out toward the officers.

Police said they searched the area where the driver had run to, and officers found a 9mm handgun wrapped in a scarf.  The driver, 35-year-old Zaffery L. Reed from Kewanee, was charged with multiple weapons charges.  The passenger, a 19-year-old man, faced alcohol charges in the incident.

Lastly, on Friday, August 30, officers pulled over a vehicle in the 300 block of East 1st Street and found a .22 caliber, a loaded magazine, and multiple 12-gauge shotgun shells in the vehicle, according to the police statement.  A passenger, 27-year-old Aaron J. Bargman from Florida, was arrested for the weapons.

Bargman was searched, and police said they found a rolled-up dollar bill that they suspected had cocaine inside.

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