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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Ohio

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Two Toledo men charged in federal court for stealing dozens of guns in firearms store burglary

Two Toledo men were charged in federal court after allegedly stealing dozens of guns from a firearms store in Oregon, Ohio.

Emmanuel Riley, 27, and Sevario Whitaker, 36, were each charged with theft from a federal firearms licensee and possession of a stolen firearm.

“These defendants are accused of breaking into a store in the middle of the night and stealing dozens of firearms,” U.S. Attorney Justin E. Herdman said.

“There is no place in our society for those who use firearms for violent purposes, including those who steal firearms to further their criminal pursuits,” said Trevor Velinor, Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Columbus Field Division.  “ATF will continue to work with our law enforcement partners at the federal, state, and local levels to bring those individuals to justice.”

According to an affidavit filed in the case:

A federal firearms licensee doing business as Towers Armory was burglarized on November 19, 2018. Approximately 46 firearms, six suppressors and four gun bags were missing from the store. Video surveillance from the store showed two men entered the store at approximately 3:24 a.m. after gaining access through the ventilation system on the roof and began removing firearms. They returned to the store several times in the early morning hours and continued removing firearms.

Investigators obtained additional footage from a nearby business that showed the two men entered a Toyota Camry and drove away. A Toledo police detective recognized the vehicle as one that was used by Riley.

The vehicle was towed from Riley’s mother’s house and Oregon police executed a state search warrant. Inside the vehicle they recovered gloves, a hat, a face mask and Friday the 13th-style mask consistent with what the burglars on the store surveillance footage were wearing. Whitaker was arrested on an outstanding warrant and also found to be wearing a sweatshirt consistent with what one of the burglars was wearing.

DNA testing revealed Whitaker’s DNA could not be excluded from a red pry bar left behind at the burglary scene and the DNA of both men could not be excluded from DNA taken from the face mask recovered from the Camry.

A search of cell tower records indicates both Riley and Whitaker’s phones connected with a cell tower within one mile of the firearms store around the time of the burglary.

If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violations.  In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and, in most cases, it will be less than the maximum.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. PSN was reinvigorated in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

This case is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Oregon Police Department and the Toledo Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Simko. 

A charge is only an accusation and is not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Topic(s): 
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Mike Tobin 216.622.3651 michael.tobin@usdoj.gov
Updated January 15, 2019