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Press Release

Career Criminal Sentenced For Possessing A Semi-automatic Pistol

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS—Earlier today in federal court, a 43-year-old career criminal was sentenced for possessing a stolen .45-caliber, semi-automatic pistol. United States District Court Judge Joan N. Ericksen sentenced Michael Scott Canfield, of St. Paul, to 188 months in federal prison on one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was also ordered to pay $1,000 in restitution concerning a related burglary. Canfield was indicted on July 11, 2012, and pleaded guilty on September 28, 2012.

In his plea agreement, Canfield admitted that on June 25, 2012, he was in possession of a Colt, .45-caliber handgun after having been previously convicted of one or more felonies. He also admitted that the handgun had traveled in interstate commerce prior to his possession of the weapon.

The investigation in this case indicated that on June 25, 2012, an Xcel Energy meter reader saw Canfield coming out of a house in Stillwater, Minnesota, carrying a firearm. Canfield claimed that “his” house had just been robbed. Canfield went to the back of the house, and the meter reader heard gunfire. The police responded to the scene and determined that Canfield had stolen several items from the house. They recovered two .45-caliber shell casings. The police later found Canfield’s get-away car with some of the stolen goods in it. Near the car was a Colt Commander, .45-caliber, semi-automatic pistol.

Because he was a felon, Canfield was prohibited under federal law from possessing a firearm at any time. His prior Ramsey County convictions included unauthorized use of a motor vehicle (1988), damage to property (1989), receiving stolen property (1991 and 1993), theft (1992 and 1994), and fleeing a peace officer (2006). In addition, Canfield was convicted of receiving stolen property in Kanebec County (1993), second-degree burglary in Sherburne County (1996), fleeing police in a motor vehicle in Dakota County (2006), two counts of first-degree burglary in Stearns County (2006), and recklessly endangering safety in St. Croix County, Wisconsin (2000).

Since at least three of Canfield’s prior offenses constituted crimes of violence, his sentence was subject to the federal Armed Career Criminal Act. That act mandates a minimum of 15 years in federal prison. And because the federal system does not have parole, offenders spend virtually their entire prison sentences behind bars.

This case was the result of an investigation by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Stillwater Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas M. Hollenhorst.



Updated April 30, 2015