HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A Bridgeport trucker who stole 111 firearms from the Smith & Wesson manufacturing plant in Springfield, Mass on Nov. 8, 2012 and sold many of the guns, was sentenced today in Hartford to over 17 years in prison.
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Daniel J. Kumor, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF Boston Field Division, announced that Elliot Perez will serve 210 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release.
“This defendant not only stole more than 100 firearms, but he quickly sold dozens of them on the street putting them directly into the hands of criminals,” said U.S. Attorney Daly. “Not only are the stolen guns now turning up in criminal investigations as far away as North Carolina, but one was used in a Bridgeport murder and another in a shooting at a Hartford night club. As more than 50 of these guns are still at large, there is no telling how many additional acts of violence will stem from this offense. These sobering facts make clear that this long prison term is fair and appropriate. We thank the Stratford and Bridgeport Police Departments for their excellent work in quickly arresting these defendants, and the ATF for their investigative work and ongoing efforts to identify and recover the missing firearms.”
“The theft of over 100 guns is a serious threat to public safety and this sentence sends the message that it will not be tolerated, said ATF Special Agent in Charge Kumor. “Firearms trafficking continues to be a top priority for ATF and our law enforcement partners and we are committed to identifying and disrupting the sources of illegal firearms, which jeopardize the safety of our communities.”
According to court documents and statements made in court, on November 8, 2012, Perez, a truck driver for Pace Motor Lines, picked up five boxes of firearms from the Smith & Wesson manufacturing plant in Springfield and placed the boxes in his truck. At the same time, Perez stole three additional boxes containing a total of 111 firearms. Perez then drove the truck containing all the firearms to his residence in Bridgeport where he met his cohort Michael Murphy. Shortly thereafter, Perez delivered the original five boxes of firearms to the trucking company’s distribution center in Stratford.
Perez and Murphy stored and ultimately sold many of the stolen guns.
On Nov. 20, 2012, when interviewed by ATF special agents, Perez falsely stated that a “black male” at Smith & Wesson’s manufacturing plant told Perez which boxes he was supposed to load onto his truck, and that he delivered all of the firearms he picked up to the distribution center in Stratford.
Prior to Nov. 2012, Perez had multiple felony convictions, including convictions for larceny and burglary, and Murphy had a felony conviction for burglary. It is a violation of federal law for a person previously convicted of a felony offense to possess a firearm or ammunition that has moved in interstate or foreign commerce.
Perez and Murphy were originally arrested by the Stratford Police Department on state firearms charges. Perez has been in custody since his state arrest on Nov. 23, 2012, and Murphy has been in custody since his federal arrest on Nov. 30, 2012.
On Feb. 11, 2014, Perez pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess and sell stolen firearms, one count of possession of firearms by a convicted felon and one count of making a false statement to a federal law enforcement officer.
On Dec. 12, 2013, Murphy pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess and sell stolen firearms and one count of possession of firearms by a convicted felon. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 30, 2015.