SALT LAKE CITY — A former employee of a Sanpete County gun manufacturing company accused of stealing gun parts was scheduled to be in court Wednesday.
Matthew Bart Malstrom, 21, of Ephraim, was charged in 6th District Court with 15 felonies on Aug. 22, including 12 counts of theft of a firearm, a second-degree felony; and three counts of burglary, a third-degree felony.
Malstrom worked for Christensen Arms Inc. as a night shift machinist in Gunnison. In May, the company discovered several firearm parts were missing from its inventory, according to charging documents.
"After conducting an internal investigation, they discovered these parts included several firearms receivers as well as various other gun parts," the charges state.
It was also discovered that iPods and cash were missing from the company's art department, according to court documents. Police discovered an unauthorized entry by Malstrom into the art department, but did not have any further evidence against him at the time, the charges state.
Then, on Aug. 14, a man trying to sell a rifle online received some texts from a man named "Matt," the charges state. But because of the nature of the messages, the man contacted Christensen Arms. Matt said he had "some Christensen Arms actions to trade. He further stated he had barrels, muzzle brakes, carbon fiber bi-pods and various other gun parts to trade," the charges state. "Matt texted … photographs of two different Christensen Arms bolt-action receivers and wrote in the texts that he has titanium, stainless, short- and long-action receivers to trade."
When the company looked at the pictures, it "discovered the actions in the photograph are 'blems' that would never have been sold to the public. The action in the photograph would not have passed quality control," according to court documents. "The action shown in the photograph shows a serial number that corresponds with an action that never passed quality control and was slated for destruction. This action would never be sold to the public and could not have been legally obtained without an employee sales record and ATF paperwork."
Police went to Malstrom's apartment to serve a search warrant and found "a closet full of gun parts," the charges state.
"We recovered approximately 180 items totaling approximately $42,461 worth of Christensen Arms product, tools, ammunition, and electronics. Included in the items were 12 firearms and 8 class 3 suppressors," the officer wrote in his report.
Police also indicated in court documents that possession of the suppressors could lead to federal charges.