Charlotte Man Enters Guilty Plea in Federal Court to Simpsonville Gun Shop Robbery
Contact Person: Lance Crick, (864) 282-2105
Columbia, South Carolina –------- United States Attorney Beth Drake, announced today that Juran Maghi Witherspoon, age 18, of Charlotte, North Carolina, entered a guilty on a charge stemming from his involvement in the pre-dawn break-in and theft of firearms from The Gun Shop in Simpsonville in October of 2016.
Witherspoon was previously indicted on December 13, 2016, by a federal grand jury. Prior to his indictment, Witherspoon was arrested on federal arrest warrants in early November for the offense and has remained in custody, detained without bond, since that date.
The facts presented by AUSA Bill Watkins at the guilty plea hearing this morning established that on October 13, 2016, at approximately 2:52 a.m., a burglary occurred at The Gun Shop and Indoor Range, a federal firearms licensee, located at 622 NE Main Street, Simpsonville, South Carolina 29681. Surveillance camera footage from the store depicted a minivan driving though the front of the store and then three subjects (one of which was Witherspoon), wearing hooded sweatshirts, gloves and carrying bags, entering the store. Witherspoon and his associates used a sledge hammer and a baseball bat to break the glass from display cases containing firearms before loading handguns into the bags. The three men were in the store for just under one minute before they fled in a getaway car and abandoned the van at the scene. A subsequent inventory of the missing guns revealed that a total of forty-three (43) handguns had been stolen to include various models of Auto Ordnance, Bersa, Glock, Ruger, Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson, Springfield Armory and Taurus firearms. The van was identified as a white Chrysler Town & Country which had been reported stolen from Denver, North Carolina.
Ms. Drake said that the maximum penalty Witherspoon faces is 10 years’ imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, supervised release of 3 years, and a special assessment fee of $100.
Ms. Drake also thanked law enforcement for the excellent police work: “The Simpsonville and Charlotte police, ATF and the Lincoln County Sheriff, they pulled together to solve this one. Working together for safer communities is what it’s about.”
The investigation was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) with the assistance and cooperation of the Simpsonville Police Department, Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department and the Lincoln County (North Carolina) Sheriff’s Department. The case has been assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Bill Watkins and First Assistant United States Attorney Lance Crick, both of the Greenville office, for prosecution.