NEW PHILADELPHIA: Police seized more than 76 guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition last week from a man suspected of stealing them from an ailing acquaintance.

The man was arrested Wednesday outside an apartment building, New Philadelphia Police Chief Michael Goodwin said.

“This is one of the largest gun seizures in the state in recent history,” Goodwin said in an announcement posted on Facebook.

Police Officer Kurt Olson reported finding the 73-year-old suspect — who was not identified in the post — in the process of taking the firearms and selling them without the owner’s knowledge.

Last week, a sister of the gun owner had contacted police over concerns that her brother, who is in failing health, had given power of attorney to a convicted felon, Goodwin said. The sister believed the man was going to take advantage of her brother and his estate.

“During the course of the investigation, it was learned that this subject has an extensive criminal history containing numerous felony convictions along with being currently registered as a Tier II sex offender,” Goodwin wrote. “Due to his criminal history, it is unlawful for him to use, possess or have control of any firearm.

“The owner of the firearms stated that he thought that this 73-year-old was a friend and that this man had approached him to be his power-of-attorney only to help with his bills and for help with caring for his cats. He said that he never gave him permission, nor did he have knowledge that he was just after his firearm collection."

Goodwin said a full report has been sent to the Tuscarawas County Prosecutor’s Office for review.