SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Four men were sentenced in federal court Monday for stealing 654 firearms from United Parcel Service trailers in Springfield, Mo., en route to Bass Pro Shops.
A federal prosecutor says authorities have recovered only 73 of the hand guns and 2-gauge shotguns.
During a sentencing hearing Monday, U.S. Assistant Attorney James Kelleher said most of the guns are in public circulation.
Frank McChriston, 35, and Derrick White, 33, both of Dallas, Texas; Quinton Haywood, 27, of Glenn Heights, Texas; and Eric White, 28, of Arlington, Texas were sentenced in separate appearances before U.S. Chief District Judge Beth Phillips. McChriston was sentenced to seven years and eight months in federal prison without parole. Derrick and Eric White were each sentenced to seven years and three months in federal prison without parole. Haywood was sentenced to seven years and six months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered the defendants to pay $206,132 in restitution, for which they are jointly and severally liable.
All four defendants admitted they aided and abetted each other to steal cargo that was being shipped across state lines, from Beretta USA in Maryland to the state of Missouri. They also pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting each other to possess stolen firearms.
Co-defendants Raynord Hunt, 36, and Keith Lowe, 29, both of Dallas, have pleaded guilty to the same charges and await sentencing.
According to court documents, the defendants stole 600 Beretta .380-caliber handguns and 54 Beretta 12-gauge shotguns from United Parcel Service (UPS) trailers in Springfield in October 2017.
The firearms were in the process of being shipped from Beretta Firearms in Maryland to Bass Pro Shops in Springfield. The trailers in which the firearms were shipped had been parked in the UPS freight lot in a configuration to prevent access to the trailer doors, by being parked back-to-back, with the roll-up doors facing each other. The trailers were then blocked by longer trailers, which should have acted as a preventative measure from someone backing a truck-tractor to the trailer and pulling it forward.
Sometime between noon on Oct. 28, 2017, and 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 29, 2017, thieves hot-wired two truck-tractors and used them to push and pull various trailers around the lot, allowing the thieves access to the trailer doors. UPS employees discovered the theft on Oct. 29, 2017, and notified law enforcement.