East Pittsburgh Man Pleads Guilty In Gun Shop Robberies
PITTSBURGH, Pa. - Acting United States Attorney Robert S. Cessar announced today, May 6, 2010, that Gerald Thomas Bandi, Jr, a former resident of East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to charges involving stealing firearms from one gun dealer and attempting to steal firearms from two other gun dealers.
Bandi, age 30, pleaded guilty to two counts before Chief United States District Judge Gary L. Lancaster.
In connection with the guilty plea, Assistant United States Attorney Ross E. Lenhardt advised the court that Bandi and others conspired to steal guns from: Kaufman's Antique and Gun Shop in Aliquippa on July 22, 2007; Gander Mountain in Coraopolis on August 2, 2007; and Fazi Firearms in Plum Boro on August 17, 2007. Bandi and his co-conspirators unsuccessfully attempted to steal the guns from the first two stores by using a vehicle to attempt to rip the doors from the front of the stores. They succeeded in entering Fazi's by using a stolen car to smash through the front doors. The owner of Fazi's reported 30 firearms stolen from his business.
Judge Lancaster scheduled sentencing for September 10, 2010 at 11:00am. 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 defendant.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Thomas Bandi, with substantial assistance from the Pennsylvania State Police, the Plum Boro Police Department, the Wilkins Township Police Department, the Allegheny County Sheriff's Office, the Penn Hills Police Department, the Monroeville Police Department, and the North Versailles Police Department. Many other agencies aided the investigation including the Pittsburgh Police Department, the Robinson Township Police Department, the Prince George's County (Maryland) Police Department, the Allegheny County Police Department, the East Pittsburgh Police Department, the Turtle Creek Police Department, the Independence Police Department, and the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office.
According to Mr. Cessar, this case is being prosecuted as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a collaborative effort by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and communities to prevent, deter and prosecute gun crime.