Law enforcement officers contend that Brent Nicholson of Pageland SC had between 7,000 to 10,000 stolen firearms in his possession at his home and warehouse. Jay Brooks, the sheriff of Chesterfield County, says that the guns, ammunition and other items were found on a property close to Highway 9 and outside the city limits of Pageland. The stolen ammunition and guns filled several idle tractor trailers. Also found were stolen mounted deer heads.
Nicholson had been arrested earlier in the week in neighboring Union County on charges of having trafficked opium and heroin. When sheriff’s deputies served him with a subpoena on October 23, they reportedly noticed stolen goods in his front yard. The deputies said they wrote out the reports for the stolen property just days before.
The raid on Nicholson’s home began on the evening of October 23, as part of a multiple jurisdictional investigation involving several counties in neighboring North Carolina as well. More than 100 law enforcement officers from several county jurisdictions were on hand, as well as federal ATF agents and South Carolina state police. Officers continued to look for evidence into the morning of October 24.
Chesterfield County sheriff Jay Brooks told the media, "None of us have ever seen anything anywhere close to this…No telling how many break-ins this will held wrap up." Brooks added that Nicholson had at least 7,000 firearms in his possession, while “99.9 percent are hunting rifles and shot guns.” Brooks referred to what he called Nicholson’s "menagerie" of loot that encompasses 150 chainsaws, 4-wheelers, and taxidermy supplies.
Suspect Nicholson lived at the residence where the guns and other items were found. Law enforcement in South Carolina suggested that so-far unknown persons stole the firearms for him.
Nicholson’s neighbor, Rusty Fender, has lived next to the suspect for his entire life. Never suspecting that Nicholson harbored thousands of firearms and ammunition, Fender said that Nicholson had always been good, adding “but you know, people do things." Fender said that the discovery was frightening and has raised multiple questions, asking about the weapons “What was you planning on doing with them? I mean was you planning on starting a riot?" Neighbor Fender theorized that acquaintance Nicholson was a “gun hoarder.” No evidence has yet been found that Nicholson sold any of the firearms in his possession. Fender said he was glad the guns “are off the streets.”
Fender said he can't remember a bigger event happening near Pageland during his years living in the area. He explained that ultimately he is happy the weapons have been seized.
Nicholson and his father operated a liquor store in Pageland SC. Warrants were written up for Nicholson’s farm and liquor store, along with the home of his father.