CLEARFIELD – A DuBois couple has been arrested for three burglaries at local gun stores as part of Operation Sportsmen’s Delight, announced Clearfield County District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. at a news conference this afternoon.
Brett A. Moore, 25, and Nicole E. Moore, 24, of DuBois have been charged with multiple counts of burglary, criminal trespass, theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property, criminal mischief, criminal conspiracy, possessing instruments of crime and firearms not to be carried without a license.
These charges stem from alleged burglaries at L.B. Toney’s Alamo Gun Shop on Aug. 28, 2013 in DuBois and at Bob’s Army & Navy Store on Sept. 8, 2013 and Sept. 12, 2013 in Clearfield. A total of 23 firearms were allegedly stolen during the three burglary incidents.
According to the affidavits of probable cause, on Aug. 28, 2013, the L.B. Toney’s Alamo Gun Shop was broken into; nine firearms were stolen from the gun shop. Then, on Sept. 8, 2013 and Sept. 12, 2013, the Bob’s Army & Navy Store was broken into and 14 firearms were stolen from the store.
The burglaries, Shaw said, involved the front door of both stores being smashed during late night hours. He explained that video surveillance established that a single suspect, Brett Moore, entered the stores while wearing a mask and gloves. Also, video surveillance, Shaw said, established the presence of a lookout driver, Nicole Moore, nearby in a getaway vehicle.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) subsequently initiated a joint investigation with local and state law enforcement. As a result, Brett Moore and his wife, Nicole Moore, were identified as being responsible for the three burglary incidents, he said.
“These charges send a clear message that the ATF, along with state and local law enforcement, are steadfast in their fight against violent crimes,” said Assistant ATF Special Agent in Charge Kelly Brady. “If you steal firearms, criminally possess and criminally transfer firearms in violation of the law, the ATF will identify you, investigate you and arrest you.
“These offenses are serious violations and have serious penalties. Firearms thieves are the primary source of guns for lawbreakers. Stolen firearms place the safety of communities at risk; illegal firearms funneled to criminal elements start the cycle of firearms violence that plagues communities.”
According to Brady, stolen firearms ultimately get transferred to the black market and often turn up at crime scenes. Firearms thieves, he said, aid others in acquiring firearms who would otherwise not be allowed to purchase a firearm themselves.
“Brett and Nicole Moore’s gun theft spree ended with them in handcuffs,” he said, adding they will be held responsible for their “smash-and-grab actions.”
When asked by the press, Shaw said law enforcement had reason to believe the stolen guns were being sold and it was also drug-related. The investigation, he said, is continuing, and people need to think twice about getting involved with dealing guns other than by legal means.
When asked about the possible penalties for these incidents, he said that each firearm theft was a second-degree felony in the state of Pennsylvania. “Each carries a mandatory minimum of nine to 16 months [of incarceration] and a maximum of 10 years,” he said. “And, there are 23 of them [stolen firearms]. You can do the math and see the consequences. They are profound.”
Anonymous tips, Shaw said, assisted law enforcement with the investigation. Also, he said law enforcement understood the importance of identifying the suspects and bringing them to justice. Shaw thanked the ATF, the DuBois City and Clearfield Borough police departments, the Pennsylvania State Police and the Clearfield County Sheriff’s Department for their assistance with the case.
Anyone with information about the theft of firearms in this particular case or others is urged to contact 1-800-ATF-GUNS. Anyone with information about a crime is asked to call the Clearfield County Crime Stoppers at 800-376-4700 or through the Clearfield County District Attorney’s Web site, www.ClearfieldDA.org.