Man sen­tenced in U.S. court for gun heist

Planned rob­bery, ar­son of Fred’s Sport­ing Goods in 2014

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By AN­DREW RICHARD­SON arichard­son@somd­

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.