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Press Release

Elmira Man Sentenced For Stealing And Illegally Selling Guns

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

CONTACT:      Barbara Burns
PHONE:         (716) 843-5817
FAX:            (716) 551-3051

ROCHESTER, N.Y.--U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Zachary Smith, 28, of Elmira, NY, who was convicted of conspiring to deal firearms without a license and possession of stolen firearms, was sentenced to 92 months in prison by Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr.     

Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa M. Marangola, who handled the case, stated that on October 16, 2013 at approximately 3:05 a.m., the owner of “Scott’s Guns” on Watkins Drive in Horseheads, NY received a telephone call from his security alarm company. The owner alerted police and then went to the store. Upon entering the store, the owner realized he had been burglarized. The owner determined that 49 handguns of various makes and models had been stolen.  

As part of their investigation, law enforcement officers reviewed footage from a security camera inside the store which revealed two individuals inside the store during regular business hours the day before, October 15, 2013. Officers recognized the two individuals to be Zachary Smith and Douglas Church. Additional investigation revealed that Smith and Church burglarized the store by having Church climb through a hole in the wall of the building, with Church handing the weapons to Smith. The two men left the guns in backpacks in a swamp behind the building the night of the burglary, with Smith and his girlfriend, Brianna Lowe, retrieving the guns the following day. Investigation also revealed that many of the guns were sold within a week and a half of the burglary in exchange for money.   

 Douglas Church and Brianna Lowe, both of Elmira, have been convicted and sentenced to 51 months and six months respectively.

Today’s sentencing is the result of an investigation on the part of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Delano A. Reid, New York Field Office, the Horseheads Police Department, under the direction of Chief William Schrom, The New York State Police, under the direction of Major Craig Hanesworth, the Chemung County Sheriff’s Department, under the direction of Christopher Moss, the Elmira Police Department, under the direction of Chief Joseph Kane, the Elmira Heights Police Department, under the direction of Chief A. Rich Churches, and the West Elmira Police Department, under the direction of Chief Peter Michalko.

Updated June 27, 2016