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FBI: Attempt to Swap Stolen Antique Guns Triggers Arrest

December 16, 1987 GMT

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ Federal agents tracking $2 million worth of 15th-century muskets stolen from a bank vault near Pittsburgh have arrested three men.

A fourth man accused of being involved in an alleged scheme to sell the 16 ornate, ivory-inlaid firearms back to an insurance company for $385,000 escaped during a car chase through city streets Tuesday, officials said.

Arrested were George A. ″Sonny″ Jordan, 56, a trucking company owner from Pittsburgh; Anthony W. Durish, 46, a Pittsburgh carpenter; and Arleigh A. Halterman, 41, a heating and air-conditioning worker who moved from Pittsburgh to Zephyrhills several years ago.

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During a hearing Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Elizabeth Jenkins, FBI agents identified Jordan as the man whose telephone calls were recorded as he talked to an informant trying to set up an elaborate plan to exchange the antique weapons for cash. He was ordered held on $50,000 bail. Durish and Halterman were ordered held on $25,000.

Agents identified the fugitive as Geno Chiarelli, 45, of Cheswick, Pa.

Tampa FBI agent Barry Carmody said the firearms were stolen from a vault at Seneca Bank near Pittsburgh last year. Aetna Insurance Co. paid $1 million to cover the loss, but experts put the current market value at $2 million, he said.

Carmody said the market for such collectors’ items is very limited and eventually Aetna heard that some people wanted to sell the antiques back to the insurance company for cash.