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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Illinois

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, December 5, 2014

Centralia Resident Charged In Federal Court For Burglarizing Gun Dealer And Attempting To Sell 39 Stolen Firearms

A Centralia resident was charged in federal district court on December 3, 2014, for burglarizing a federal firearms licensee and attempting to sell the guns, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. Dakota R. Moss, 19, was charged in a criminal complaint which alleged that Ferguson, Missouri was a potential destination for the cache of weapons, which included semi-automatic handguns and AR-15 assault rifles.

The complaint affidavit stated that on November 29, 2014, the Buchheit of Centralia farm and home supply store was burglarized and thirty nine (39) firearms were stolen, along with at least one thousand rounds of ammunition. The burglary was accomplished using a full size pickup truck, which was stolen from Centraila High School. The suspects utilized the stolen truck to ram the locked security gate to make entry onto Buchheit’s parking lot, where the suspects then broke out store windows to make entry into the store. The surveillance video established that the initial burglary occurred at approximately 2:40 am. However, the video evidence revealed that the two suspects left the scene and returned to steal additional firearms and ammunition on two occasions - thereby making a total of three separate entries into the store between 2:40 am and 4:00 am.

Evidence filed in court established that Moss and his juvenile accomplice were armed while inside of Buchheit’s and intended to shoot anyone who interrupted the burglary – including police. The complaint alleges that Moss and his accomplice stole the firearms in order to sell the guns; and that Ferguson, Missouri was among the planned destinations for the weapons. The charges also state that the two planned on participating in the looting of businesses in the Ferguson, Missouri area, however the plan did not materialize. Centralia Police and agents from the ATF identified the suspects soon after the burglary and have recovered 35 of the 39 stolen guns as of this date. Anyone with knowledge of the remaining stolen firearms or the ammunition is encouraged to call law enforcement.

US Attorney Stephen R. Wigginton said, “I commend the members of law enforcement who quickly and professionally interrupted this incredibly dangerous crime before lives were lost. Firearms trafficking is always a very serious crime. But, it is even worse that these two considered profiteering from the lawlessness in Ferguson by planning to sell arms to rioters and looters.”

The complaint charges Moss with stealing firearms from a federal firearms licensee, possession of stolen firearms, being a felon in possession of firearms, and with carry and use of a firearm during a crime of violence. The first three charges are all punishable by not more than 10 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine, and not more than 5 years supervised release. Carry and use of a firearm during a crime of violence carries an additional mandatory consecutive sentence of not less than 5 years. However, the United States Sentencing Guidelines must be applied to the case and considered by the Court during sentencing. Moss will be arraigned in US District Court on December 10, 2014.

The investigation is being conducted by agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Centralia Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Steven D. Weinhoeft.

A complaint is a formal charge against a defendant. Under the law, a defendant is presumed to be innocent of a charge until proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to the satisfaction of a jury.

Updated February 19, 2015