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Press Release

Convicted Felon Sentenced to Eleven Years in Federal Prison for Stealing Firearms from Cargo Train

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

CHICAGO — A federal judge today sentenced a convicted felon to eleven years in prison for stealing more than a hundred firearms from a cargo train on the South Side of Chicago and selling more than a dozen of them.


On April 12, 2015, PATRICK EDWARDS and several acquaintances burglarized the cargo train while it was parked overnight in a railyard in Chicago’s Avalon Park neighborhood.  The cargo train was en route from a Ruger factory in New Hampshire to Spokane, Wash.  The thieves broke locks on a train car and walked off with approximately 104 firearms, with Edwards keeping 13 guns for himself.  He quickly sold the 13 firearms on the black market.


To date, law enforcement has recovered 34 of the 104 stolen firearms at various locations and crime scenes in Chicago and the surrounding area.


Edwards, 38, of Chicago, had previously been convicted of a felony and was not legally allowed to possess a firearm.  He pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of illegal possession of a firearm by a felon, and one count of possession of a stolen firearm.  U.S. District Judge John J. Tharp Jr. imposed the 132-month sentence in federal court in Chicago.


The sentencing was announced by Joel R. Levin, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Celinez Nunez, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  The Chicago Police Department and the Norfolk Southern Railroad Police Department provided valuable assistance.


“It is important for the community to know that getting involved in the theft and trafficking of firearms comes with significant criminal consequences,” Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher V. Parente and Eric Pruitt argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum.


The investigation into the theft and trafficking of the firearms resulted in charges against eleven defendants, including Edwards.


Nine other defendants have been convicted and either sentenced or are awaiting sentencing, including TERRY WALKER (scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Tharp on Dec. 6, 2017, at 2:00 p.m.); FREDERICK LEWIS (sentenced to 15 years in prison); ANDREW SHELTON (sentenced to ten years in prison); WARREN GATES (sentenced to five years and three months in prison); NATHAN DRIGGERS (sentenced to eight years in prison); LORI SHELTON (sentenced to three years of probation); ELGIN LIPSCOMB (awaiting sentencing); MARCEL TURNER (awaiting sentencing); and ALEXANDER PEEBLES (awaiting sentencing).

Updated November 2, 2017

Firearms Offenses