2 adults, and 11 juveniles have been arrested in connection to a spree of gun store burglaries in Montgomery and Bucks Counties.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele, Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub, Special Agent-in-Charge Eric DeGree of ATF’s Philadelphia Field Division; and Springfield Township Police Chief Michael Pitkow announce the arrests two adults and 11 juveniles related to the burglaries of gun stores in Montgomery and Bucks Counties.
According to the DA’s Offices, 93 total firearms were stolen, but only 33 have been recovered by police so far.
List of suspects charged:
- 40-year-old Angel Mason
- Charged with: Possession Of Firearms Prohibited, Firearms Not To Be Carried Without License, Conspiracy, Criminal Use of Communication Facility and Tampering with or Fabricating Physical Evidence
- 16-year-old Elijah Terrel
- Charged with: Receiving Stolen Property, Sales to Ineligible Transferee, Criminal Use of Communication Facility and Tampering With or Fabricating Physical Evidence.
- 22-year-old Donte Purnell
- Charged with: Receiving Stolen Property, Sales to Ineligible Transferee, Firearms Not to Be Carried Without A License, Simple Assault, Possession of a Firearm By A Minor, Theft By Unlawful Taking, Possession of an Instrument of Crime, Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Aggravated Assault, Robbery and Criminal Use of Communication Facility.
- 18-year-old Liv Hall
- Charged with: Aggravated Assault, Burglary, Conspiracy, Criminal Trespass/Breaking into a Structure, Sales to Ineligible Transferee, Firearms Not to Be Carried Without A License and related charges.
- Nine other juveniles from West Philadelphia ranging from ages 14-17 were charged.
The burglaries and attempted burglary occurred between September 24th and November 20th, 2022, between 2 and 4:30 a.m.
In each of the incidents, burglars gained access into the store, smashed glass display cases, and grabbed numerous guns before fleeing.
The first burglary occurred at Founding Fathers Outfitters in Lafayette Hill, on September 24th at 4:22 a.m. 26 guns were stolen from the property, but police have only been able to recover 6. The DA’s offices said that one of the guns was used in a shooting incident in Philadelphia and later found on a suspect involved in a Philadelphia homicide on September 29th. The burglars drove away in a stolen 2020 Kia Forte.
The 2nd burglary occurred at Target World Gun Shop in Chalfont on November 12th at 4:20 a.m. Burglars stole 32 pistols, 8 rifles, and one suppressor, Police were able to recover 10 of the stolen guns.
The spree of thefts continued on November 20th when two gun stores were burglarized.
The first attempt was at Continental Armory in Hatboro where burglars were interrupted by an individual hearing the sound of breaking glass and calling 911.
They then moved to Tanners Sport Center in Warwick Township, where 26 guns were stolen. Police have been able to recover 16, including a gun that was used in an armed robbery in Pennsauken, NJ on December 14th. Video shows that the burglars fled the scene at speeds over 100 mph.
The investigation into the series of gun store burglaries was a joint effort by the Montgomery County Detective Bureau, Bucks County Detective Bureau, the ATF—Philadelphia Field Division and Springfield Township Police, Philadelphia Police, Hatboro Police, New Britain Township Police, Warwick Township Police, and assistance from the FBI, the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General and the Delaware State Police.
The suspects were captured through the use of numerous investigative techniques including interviews, physical surveillance, video surveillance, social media analysis and cellphone data and records.
Investigations showed that several burglars were part of a known, Philadelphia juvenile street gang, called “54th Street”.
The members of ’54th Street’ were all part of the burglaries and attempted burglary.
Evidence also showed that there were two other gun store burglaries planned, but not yet executed.
“54th Street” is known by police for car-jackings, robberies, burglaries and gun violence.
Out of the 93 stolen firearms, the 33 recovered were used in armed robberies, and shootings, around Philadelphia, Montgomery, and Bucks Counties.
- Stolen Glock 17 firearm was recovered by Philadelphia Police in the possession of Ellijah Terrell on scene of an armed robbery at 5500 Poplar Street in Philadelphia; September 26, 2022
- H&K 9mm firearm stolen during the Sept. 24, 2022 burglary was recovered by Philadelphia Police when they executed a search warrant related to a Sept. 29, 2022 shooting at 54th Street and Willows Avenue where a 16-year-old died of a gunshot wound to the head and a 14-year-old was also shot but survived
- A firearm stolen from the Tanner Sports Center burglary was recovered by Pennsauken, N.J. Police after it was used by juvenile in an armed robbery, December 14th, 2022.
“These defendants brazenly broke into gun stores and stole nearly 100 firearms, then sold and transferred them widely throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. With 60 firearms unaccounted for, we still don’t know the extent of the damage by this corrupt organization’s criminal activities, including shootings and murders,” said DA Steele. “These arrests have made our communities safer and came about because of the excellent joint investigation with our numerous local, state and federal law enforcement partners.”
“DA Steele took the word that I would use to describe this organized criminal rampage right out of my mouth: ‘Brazen,” said DA Weintraub. “Together, we fight hard every day against lawless criminals that steal and use crime guns to terrorize our communities, regardless of whose borders they cross. And we will not rest. More to come.”
“Burglaries of federal firearms licensees are a top priority for ATF, and we are eager to hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions,” said ATF SAIC DeGree.
Charges will vary per suspect, but all include felony charges related to operating a Corrupt Organization, Conspiracy, Criminal Use of a Communications Facility and firearms trafficking charges.
- Criminal Tresspass
- Theft by Unlawful Taking
- Receiving Stolen Property
- Aggravated Assault
- Recklessly Endangering Another Person
- Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Police Officer
- Possessing an Instrument of Crime
A preliminary hearing for Mason, Purnell and Terrell is scheduled for 9 a.m., Feb. 13, 2023, before Magisterial District Judge Catherine E. McGill.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Samantha Arena, who is a member of the Firearms Unit.
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