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Press Release

Jefferson City Man Pleads Guilty to Illegal Firearms Stolen During Home Burglaries

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Missouri

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Tom Larson, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Jefferson City, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to illegally possessing several firearms that he stole during a series of home burglaries.

Stephan Alben Whelan, 22, of Jefferson City, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Willie J. Epps to being an illegal drug user in possession of firearms.

Whelan was arrested on Dec. 8, 2016, when a Cole County, Mo., sheriff’s deputy stopped a black Toyota with temporary tags in which Whelan was a passenger. Numerous burglaries had been reported in several counties in the mid-Missouri area from approximately September 2016 to December 2016, and the deputy recalled that a black Toyota with temporary tags had been referenced in reports of local burglaries. As the deputy overtook the Toyota, he observed numerous items in it that appeared to be items reported stolen in the local burglaries. The deputy then initiated a traffic stop. The deputy checked the serial number of one of the items in the vehicle and learned it had been reported stolen from Miller County, Mo. Whelan was then placed under arrest.

Whelan told officers that he and other individuals were involved in multiple burglaries in the mid-Missouri area. He stated he was involved in so many burglaries that he could not remember where specific items were taken from and when they were taken. He traded the stolen items for methamphetamine. Law enforcement officers executed search warrants and recovered numerous stolen items, including several firearms that had been reported stolen.

Whelan admitted that he stole a Browning 12-gauge shotgun and a Henry Repeating Arms 30-30 caliber rifle from a residence in Lohman, Mo. Whelan traded the firearms, which were eventually recovered by law enforcement, for a quarter-ounce of methamphetamine.

Whelan also admitted that he stole a Marlin 30-30 caliber rifle from a residence in Moniteau County, Mo. Whelan told investigators that he was on methamphetamine during the burglary, and after the burglary threw the rifle out the window of a car. The firearm was later recovered.

Under federal statutes, Whelan is subject to a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. Sentencing hearings will be scheduled after the completion of presentence investigations by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence E. Miller. It was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Cole County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department and the Eldon, Mo., Police Department.

Updated September 14, 2017

Firearms Offenses