NORTHAMPTON -- A substitute teacher was arrested and ordered held on $100,000 bail after police pulled over his car and discovered a small arsenal of guns, and found more weapons and ammunition at his home.
Bryan E. Bridges, 51, of Southampton, was arrested Thursday after Southampton police stopped his Chevrolet Blazer for an equipment violation, The Republican of Springfield reported.
Police found that Bridges didn't have a valid driver's license and searched his vehicle. They found a shotgun and 72 shotgun cartridges, two handguns, and a can of mace, according to prosecutor Michael A. Cahillane.
Bridges told police he was living with his fiancee in Southampton, Cahillane said. After obtaining a search warrant, police searched the residence and found a .357 Smith & Wesson handgun, a .44 Magnum, a .38 snub-nose handgun, and numerous rounds of ammunition in Bridges' bedroom.
The Hampshire Regional School superintendent, William G. Erickson, attended Bridges' arraignment Friday and said he was "surprised and shocked" when he heard about the charges.
Since last April, Bridges had worked 93 days without incident, Erickson said. Erickson said the district will no longer employ Bridges.
"We do a criminal check on all our employees. There was nothing in his Massachusetts record," Erickson said.
The district includes the towns of Southampton, Westhampton, Chesterfield, Goshen, and Williamsburg.
Defense lawyer John Drake disputed Cahillane's claim that police were unable to positively identify Bridges.
Drake described the contents of Bridges' car and bedroom as "garbage" and said the guns were not easily accessible. Drake said Bridges is an Air Force veteran with no criminal history except for speeding tickets, which caused him to lose his driver's license in California. He asked that bail be set at $500.
Among other charges, Bridges faces eight counts of carrying a firearm without a license, nine counts of improperly storing firearms, and one count of possessing a large-capacity firearm. He is also charged with several motor vehicle violations.
Northampton District Court Judge W. Michael Goggins continued the case to Feb. 11.