Columbia Man Pleads to Conspiracy to Steal Firearms Charge
Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Beth Drake stated that Jonathan Donnell Thompson, age 36, of Columbia, plead guilty in federal court to conspiracy to steal firearms from a federal firearms licensee, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. In January 2018, Thompson’s co-defendant, Cedric K. Reddick, age 24, of Columbia, plead guilty to conspiracy to steal firearms from a federal firearms licensee and to being a felon in possession of a firearm, all in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 371, 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2). United States District Judge Michelle Childs, of Columbia, accepted both guilty pleas and will impose sentence on both Thompson and Reddick after she has reviewed the presentence reports, which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.
Evidence presented in court established on August 5, 2016, Tony’s Guns and Police Supplies, a federal firearms licensee, in Sumter was burglarized and 69 handguns stolen. The investigation revealed similarities between that burglary and other burglaries of liquor stores in several counties. Through the joint investigation, law enforcement developed information that lead to Thompson being a suspect and later a DNA match linked co-defendant Reddick to a burglary of one of the liquor stores. Further investigation linked Thompson and Reddick to the burglaries through various means, including phone records and social media posts. Additionally, a search warrant at Reddick’s apartment revealed a 9mm handgun stolen during the burglary of Tony’s Guns and Police Supplies. Upon arrest, Reddick confessed to his involvement and implicated Thompson.
Thompson faces a maximum of 5 years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, and 3 years of supervised release on the conspiracy charge.
The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office, the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED), the Clinton Police Department, the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, and the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department and was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state and local Project CeaseFire initiative, which aggressively prosecutes firearm cases. Assistant United States Attorney Stacey D. Haynes of the Columbia office handled the case.
Project Ceasefire is South Carolina’s continued application of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority. In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001.