A business dispute over the release of doves at a funeral has led to a California man's arrest on suspicion of making criminal threats and the seizure of more than 50 guns and Nazi paraphernalia from his home, authorities said.
Mitchell Todd, 51, was arrested at his home in Huntington Beach after he allegedly threatened a man who hired him to release white doves at his son's funeral, Sgt. Jim Cota of the Laguna Beach Police Department told ABC News on Wednesday.
In a voicemail to the victim, Todd allegedly said, "I think it's time for you to go where your son went," according to Cota.
When police officers executed a search warrant on Todd's home on Tuesday, they seized more than 50 guns, numerous rounds of ammunition, flags bearing the Nazi swastika, a Confederate flag and a picture of Adolf Hitler, Cota said.
Detectives also found more than 200 doves at Todd's home that were being cared for by a relative.
2/2 During the search detectives located over 200 doves, the arrestee releases doves for a living. The birds seemed well cared for for and will be taken care of by a family member. pic.twitter.com/LzXvawrTCF— Laguna Beach Police (@LagunaBeachPD) November 28, 2018
He said investigators are looking into whether Todd has any ties to hate groups.
"Who knows what his motive was. In our minds, we can think that hopefully we stopped something potentially big from happening. But I can't give you anything concrete on if he was planning on doing something," Cota said.
He said Todd has 12 guns registered to him.
"So we need to figure out what the other 40-plus guns are doing in his possession and who they belong to and whether or not he's even able to have them," Cota said.
Also located inside the residence .. pic.twitter.com/t2sTocEuEW— Laguna Beach PD PIO (@LBPD_PIO_45) November 28, 2018
He said police began investigating Todd after receiving a complaint that he had threatened a customer who hired him to release white doves at his son's funeral.
He said Todd allegedly made threats in voicemails and text messages to the victim
"It was a business deal and the business deal didn't end up the way that he [Todd] wanted and so it started with text messages, voicemails and then it just went from normal talk to the extreme of starting to get into violence," Cota told ABC News.
"And then in one of the voicemails, there was the racking of a gun slide," he said. "So we were like this has gone way too far."
Todd owns a business called Orange County White Dove Release, which releases doves at funerals, weddings, birthdays and other celebrations.
Efforts by ABC News to reach Todd for comment were not successful.
In a 2016 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Todd said his father got him interested in raising birds in the 1970s.
"I got into all-white birds in the '80s," he told the newspaper. "I can only compare it to maybe a smoker or alcoholic. It's very addictive. It is something you kind of get as a child. It's kind of a relaxation when the birds fly around."