Belvidere Man Found Guilty of Firearm Charges
ROCKFORD — A Belvidere man was found guilty today of firearm charges following a four-day jury trial in federal court in Rockford.
MICHAEL TAPIA, 25, of Belvidere, Ill., was found guilty of one count of conspiring to receive, possess, conceal, store, sell, and dispose of stolen firearms or ammunition; one count of receiving, possessing, concealing, and storing stolen firearms and ammunition; and one count of illegally possessing firearms and ammunition as a convicted felon. Three other area men who were also charged in the case previously pleaded guilty to firearm charges: TIOVANNI CUNNINGHAM, 31, of Rockford, Ill., MICHAEL SCHAFFER, 33, and DARRELL REED, 28, of Byron, Ill.
According to the indictment and evidence at trial, on Dec. 31, 2012, Tapia and Cunningham broke into a residence in northern Illinois and stole over 21 firearms and ammunition from the residence. Tapia and Cunningham later transferred some of the concealed stolen firearms to their co-defendants and stored some of the firearms at other locations.
Cunningham pleaded guilty on May 31, 2016, to conspiring to receive, possess, conceal, store, sell, and dispose of stolen firearms and ammunition; receiving, possessing, concealing, and storing stolen firearms and ammunition; and illegally possessing firearms and ammunition as a felon. Schaffer pleaded guilty on June 3, 2016, to conspiring to receive, possess, conceal, store, sell, and dispose of stolen firearms and ammunition. Reed pleaded guilty on June 15, 2016, to receiving, possessing, concealing, storing, selling, and disposing of stolen firearms.
Conspiracy carries a maximum sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment; receiving stolen firearms and ammunition carries a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment; and illegally possessing firearms and ammunition as a convicted felon carries a maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment. Each charge also carries up to 3 years of supervised release following imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000 and restitution. The court must impose a reasonable sentence guided by the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.
Sentencing is scheduled for Tapia on Dec. 14, 2016, at 9:00 a.m.; for Cunningham on Sept. 20, 2016, at 10:00 a.m.; for Schaffer on Oct. 11, 2016, at 9:00 a.m.; and for Reed on Oct. 14, 2016, at 9:30 a.m.
The conviction was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Jeffery A. Magee, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department, Rockton Police Department and Rockford Police Department assisted in the investigation.
The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Talia Bucci and Michael D. Love.