Last Of Gun Store Burglars Convicted
PITTSBURGH, Pa. ‑ The second and third residents originally from New Kensington, Penn., pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of stealing guns from a New Kensington gun dealer and conspiring with others to do so, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
Nicolas J. Cox, 19, of New Kensington, Penn., and Aaron M. Booker, 18, formerly of New Kensington, Penn., and currently residing in Duquesne, Penn., pleaded guilty to all counts before Senior United States District Judge Alan N. Bloch. Daniel T. Johnson pleaded guilty to all counts before Judge Bloch on Aug. 16, 2010.
In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that on Dec. 14, 2009, Jolar Inc., a federally‑licensed firearms dealer in New Kensington, was burglarized when individuals cut the lock off the outer gate, moved the security camera, smashed the front window with a brick and stole three AR‑15 type assault rifles and 11 pistols. The perpetrators cut themselves breaking the glass cases where the pistols were stolen. The joint federal and state investigation quickly focused on Cox, Booker and Johnson.
The defendants each confessed, basically stating that they contacted a known juvenile who agreed to create a diversion for police. The three co‑defendants then traveled to Jolar where Booker turned the security camera and was the lookout; Cox cut the lock, entered the store and cut himself stealing pistols; and Johnson entered the store and stole the rifles. Two of the stolen pistols were recovered from a heating duct of Johnson's house.
Judge Bloch scheduled sentencing for Dec. 16, 2010. Johnson will be sentenced at 11:30 a.m. and Cox at 12:30 p.m. Booker is scheduled for sentencing on Jan. 6, 2011, at 11:30 a.m. The law provides for a total sentence of 15 years in prison, a fine of $500,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the criminal history, if any, of the defendants.
Pending sentencing, the court placed the defendants on Electronic Monitoring with a litany of conditions.
Assistant United States Attorney Ross E. Lenhardt is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the New Kensington Police Department, the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, and the Pennsylvania State Police conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Cox, Booker and Johnson.