Man sentenced in U.S. court for gun heist
Planned robbery, arson of Fred’s Sporting Goods in 2014
The man who orchestrated the robbery and arson of Fred’s Sporting Goods in Waldorf back in October 2014 was sentenced to serve 13 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, the U.S. States Attorneys Office announced last week.
In December, Edward White, 46, of Waldorf pled guilty for his involvement in the heist in which more than 70 handguns were stolen by co-conspirators before the store was set on fire, causing more than $500,000 in estimated damages.
In February 2014, White began to plan the robbery by taking photographs outside and inside of the store, taking pictures of the fence, gate, the padlock securing the gate, guns and the display cases securing the guns, according to the plea agreement.
White also climbed onto the roof of the business by scaling the HVAC system in order to take pictures of the roof; his DNA was
later recovered on a beam nearby.
White then shared these photos with at least one co-conspirator.
After months of quiet preparation, co-conspirators robbed Fred’s and then set it aflame during the early hours of Oct. 13, 2014.
Investigation showed that someone had gained entry to the business by cutting a hole in the roof where White had taken the photograph.
After entering through the roof, a masked and gloved man began to ransack the store for more than an hour, gathering more than 70 handguns from display cases. Then, the co-conspirators doused the store in gasoline and set it on fire, according to court records.
The damage to the building was significant, rendering it uninhabitable.
Using bloodhounds, investigators were able to locate White’s discarded cell phone nearby and later discovered the photographs taken earlier in February in preparation for the heist.
Later, on Nov. 6, 2014, police executed a search warrant on White’s residence and recovered a .38 caliber pistol stolen from Fred’s and an illegally modified sawedoff shotgun, according to police records.
White then agreed to speak with investigators further at the Charles County Sheriff’s Office.
At the police station, White asked to use the restroom, and after he returned, deputies searched the bathroom and recovered a .40 caliber handgun which was also stolen from Fred’s.
“ATF worked hand-inhand with the Charles County Sheriff’s Office as well as federal prosecutors to build a strong case against Mr. White in an effort to hold him responsible for the theft of firearms and arson of Fred’s Sporting Goods,” said ATF Acting Special Agent in Charge Frank Riehl in a USAO press release. “The hard work of ATF’s DNA chemists and the Charles County Forensic Science Unit provided unquestionable scientific evidence as to White’s participation in this crime.”
“United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the ATF and Charles County Sheriff’s Office for their work in the investigation,” stated a Department of Justice news release. “Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Daniel C. Gardner, who prosecuted the case.”
Although White has now been convicted, the damage to Fred’s Sporting Goods was significant and forced the business to temporarily relocate to a new building in White Plains, off of U.S. 301.
Joe Herbert, the owner of Fred’s Sporting Goods, said that the robbery not only hurt his business, but also his employees.
“It shut my business down,” Herbert told the Maryland Independent in December, after White pled guilty. “A huge impact financially, on not only me, the owner, but the employees.”
Fred’s Sporting Goods was closed for six months, during prime business months, no less, according to Herbert.
Herbert plans to rebuild the front of the building damaged by the fire, and wants to expand the store to two-stories.
However, the gun range in the back of the building survived the fire and is currently open for business.
Herbert hopes that the old store in Waldorf will be reconstructed and fully operational by October.