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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Connecticut

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, October 31, 2022

New Britain Man Who Stole 14 Guns from Portland Firearms Dealer Sentenced to 100 Months in Prison

Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and James Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge, ATF Boston Field Division, announced that CHRISTOPHER MATOS, 34, of New Britain, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Kari A. Dooley in Bridgeport to 100 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for firearm offenses stemming from his participation in the burglary of a Portland firearms dealer in December 2020.

According to court documents and statements made in court, in the early morning of December 31, 2020, Matos and Kenney Cotto burglarized Central Connecticut Arms, a federally-licensed firearms dealer in Portland, and stole 14 firearms.  On January 5, 2021, investigators searched an SUV that Matos and Cotto used during the burglary and recovered clothing that Cotto wore during the burglary, a hammer and tire iron Matos and Cotto used to break into Central Connecticut Arms, and other evidence. Investigators also found Matos’s DNA at the crime scene, and a subsequent search of his residence revealed clothing he wore during the burglary.

Matos was arrested on January 14, 2021.

To date, three of the firearms stolen from Central Connecticut Arms have been recovered by law enforcement.  Two were recovered by the FBI in an unrelated narcotics investigation, and the third was seized by Waterbury Police after it was fired into the air during an altercation.  The remaining 11 firearms are unaccounted for.

Judge Dooley ordered Matos to pay $21,528.91 in restitution.

Matos’s criminal history includes seven felony convictions and, at the time of the burglary, he was on probation for a state theft offense.  It is a violation of federal law for a person previously convicted of a felony offense to possess a firearm or ammunition that has moved in interstate or foreign commerce.

Matos has been detained since his arrest.  On March 23, 2022, he pleaded guilty to theft of firearms from a licensee, and unlawful possession of firearms by a felon.

On April 21, 2022, Cotto, 24, of New Britain, pleaded guilty to the same charges.  He is detained while awaiting sentencing.

This investigation has been conducted by ATF and the Portland, New Britain, Berlin and East Longmeadow (Mass.) Police Departments.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert S. Ruff.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses
Component(s): 
Updated October 31, 2022