BOSTON A Worcester man was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Worcester for stealing over 50 firearms from a licensed gun dealer and reselling the weapons.
Kevin William Burke, 32, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge F. Dennis Saylor, IV to 87 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $41,967 in restitution. In May 2012, Burke pleaded guilty to 16 counts of stealing firearms.
K&R Target Sports (K&R) was a federally licensed gun dealer operating in Hudson, Mass. Burke worked at K&R beginning in July 2009, and managed the business from December 2009 through mid April 2010 while the owner was in Florida. During his employment, Burke stole 54 guns from the inventory and sold most of the guns to other gun dealers in the Worcester area.
In order to conceal the theft, Burke made numerous false entries in the book and records of K&R that tracked the acquisition and disposition of guns. In many instances Burke failed to record that K&R had received a gun from the manufacturer or dealer, even though an invoice showed that it had. In other instances, Burke falsely reported that the gun was sold to a party other than the individual or gun dealer to whom Burke actually sold the gun. Burke told gun dealers that he was liquidating his inventory of guns because he was returning to Afghanistan. Burke maintained a secret bank account through which over $65,000 in unexplained income passed. At the time of his arrest, numerous firearms were found in his home including a handgun with an obliterated serial number and a sawed-off shotgun.
In addition, Burke sold guns he stole to a private party, knowing that the private party was, in turn, delivering the guns to associates and members of the Hell's Angels outlaw motorcycle gang.
“The theft and sale of illegal weapons has vast and indefinite consequences that jeopardize the security of citizens across Massachusetts,” said United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute individuals who violate the gun laws, risking the safety of our communities.”
“ATF's top priority is to combat violent crime. The theft of firearms and their transfer from the legal market to the illegal market threatens the safety and security of our communities,” said Gene Marquez, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Boston. “Today's sentencing sends a strong message - when you victimize gun stores and steal firearms you will be prosecuted and you will be put behind bars.”
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Acting SAC Marquez of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Boston Field Division, made the announcement today. Assistance was also provided by the Hudson Police Department, Marlborough Police Department and Worcester Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David Hennessy, Chief of Ortiz’s Worcester Office