Man who fired off flare faces weapons charges

Hillsborough Gun Police said they had confiscated Thom Ruben’s home. Photo provided by the police.

Daily Post Staff Writer

The San Mateo District Attorney is seeking 14 criminal charges against a man who shot down a torch at 2:26 a.m. from his Hillsborough home.

District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said a man called Hillsborough police at 2:26 a.m. on February 20 to ask if he could fire a flare gun at a birthday party. The dispatcher told the man, who was later identified as Thom Ruben, 66, not to fire the torch, but he did anyway, Wagstaffe said.

Police arrived at Rubin’s house on the 2800 block on Churchill Drive and found he was drunk. Officers said he showed them his weapon, an AR15-style rifle with a grenade and flare, Wagstaffe said.

Since the police initially thought the torch was just a violation of city law, they gave him a ticket and left.

A few days later, police found photos of Ruben on social media with various guns, some of which were illegally configured, and found that Ruben was convicted of crimes in Switzerland, which, according to Wagstaffe, makes it illegal for him to have guns in the state to have .

On February 24, police received a search warrant and, according to Wagstaffe, found several weapons, illegal fireworks, potassium nitrate, several boxes and rounds of ammunition, and body armor issued by the US government.

Based on the social media posts, Ruben was charged with illegally unloading a firearm four times during his court appearance on Thursday. He also faces 10 crimes related to the various weapons, ammunition, and explosives he had.

Wagstaffe said he was unsure of the exact nature of Rubens’ convictions in Switzerland, but said there was a number that would be considered a crime in California.

Wagstaffe’s office previously charged Ruben with a misdemeanor, the prosecutor said.
Ruben is due to appear in court on Thursday and is out of jail.

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