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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Felon Sentenced for Possession of a Firearm Stolen from Pawn Shop

HOUSTON – A 26-year-old convicted felon has been ordered to federal prison for possessing a firearm stolen during the robbery of a Cash America Pawn Shop in May 2017, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. Kentrell Ezenwere, of Houston, pleaded guilty Nov. 1, 2017.

Today, U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison ordered Ezenwere to prison for 80 months. In handing down the sentence, the court held him accountable for the one stolen firearm he possessed at the time of his arrest as well as an additional 28 firearms stolen from the Cash America Pawn Shop the day before. Judge Ellison called Ezenwere’s introduction of guns into the community “anti-social” behavior and noted his criminal behavior to be of particular concern given the national dialogue surrounding firearms.

The mother of Ezenwere’s infant child asked the court to allow him to return home. However, Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) Carrie Wirsing reminded the court that law enforcement officers also desire to return home to their families at the end of their shifts – a task less likely with Ezenwere’s “running and gunning” lifestyle. Ezenwere has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

The investigation arose from a burglary of a Cash America Pawn Shop in Houston on May 17, 2017, during which 29 firearms were stolen. Security footage showed a suspect who made entry into the pawn shop from the roof of the building, where he had cut a hole and lowered himself down into the building using rope. The man placed the handguns in a red backpack and a red drawstring bag, ran out of the side door to an adjacent parking lot to a white Cadillac four-door sedan and fled.

Agents located a photo of a similar-looking white Cadillac posted on Ezenwere’s Instagram account six days prior to the burglary. Also found were Snapchat videos of Ezenwere holding handguns matching those that had been stolen, which had been posted within 12 hours following  the Cash America burglary. 

The following day, authorities stopped Ezenwere while driving a white Cadillac four-door sedan. Following his arrest for outstanding warrants, law enforcement found one of the stolen firearms on the floorboard in front of the driver’s seat. Also discovered in the car was a strap with a head lamp, hand tools, pry bar, hammer, pack of gloves, metal grinder, tin snips and a red rope that was the same style of rope recovered on the scene of the burglary as well as a pair of binoculars, a red drawstring bag and red backpack that matched the description of those used during the burglary the previous day.

Ezenwere had previously been convicted of aggravated assault against a public servant during which he shot at an officer and for which he was sentenced to five years imprisonment. As such, he is prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition per federal law.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Houston Police Department conducted the investigation. AUSA Carrie Wirsing prosecuted the case which was brought as part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a nationwide program to reduce gun and gang crime in America and the Houston Law Enforcement Violent Crime Initiative which seeks to proactively fight violent crime across the Greater Houston area.

Topic(s): 
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Updated March 21, 2018