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Press Release

Gun Store Burglar, Trafficker Sentenced to 108 Months Imprisonment

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Georgia
Stolen Firearms were Sold or Distributed in the Community

ALBANY, Ga. –  A Southwest Georgia resident who broke into two Cordele, Georgia, gun stores, stealing multiple firearms and selling or distributing them in the community was sentenced to prison for his crimes.

Demetri Lott, 44, of Ashburn, Georgia, was sentenced to serve 108 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Leslie Gardner on June 1, after previously pleading guilty to two counts of theft of a firearm from a licensed dealer. There is no parole in the federal system.

“Our office is committed to prioritizing prosecutions of those responsible for the greatest gun violence in our communities, including those who illegally traffic in firearms,” said U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our local, state and federal law enforcement partners are focused on reducing violent crime in our communities, and to use every available resource at our disposal to reduce gun violence.”

“The theft of firearms from a federally licensed firearms dealer and their diversion into the illegal firearms market is a crime that affects us all,” said ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Beau Kolodka. “FFL burglaries are a top priority for ATF and we are pleased that Mr. Lott has been sentenced to a significant term of incarceration for his crimes.”

According to court documents, Lott broke into Wells Hardware & Supply in Cordele, Georgia, on Nov. 12, 2020, accessing the store through the roof. Lott stole 11 firearms. While the case was under investigation, Lott burglarized another gun store in Cordele, Evans Outdoors, on Jan. 2, 2021. A rifle was stolen as well as trail cameras, scopes and several boxes of ammunition. A concerned citizen contacted the Sheriff’s Office soon after the theft to report information about the stolen rifle. A second anonymous tip to the Sheriff’s Office on Jan. 15 helped law enforcement locate Lott. Lott was arrested at a Cordele residence, hiding inside the attic crawl space. Lott told agents he was responsible for breaking into and stealing firearms from both businesses. He also admitted to selling the stolen firearms from Wells Hardware & Supply for cash and drugs, later returning to the person’s home that same day to find that all of the firearms had been distributed to other people. Lott said he gave the Evans Outdoors rifle to an acquaintance. Lott has multiple prior felony convictions, including convictions for aggravated battery, robbery and burglary.

These cases are being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, 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.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Crisp County Sheriff’s Office and the Cordele Police Department investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Melody Ellis prosecuted the case.

Updated June 3, 2022

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses