For Immediate Release
Bridgeport Man Admits Stealing 111 Firearms From Smith & Wesson Factory In Springfield
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Daniel J. Kumor, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF Boston Field Division, announced that ELLIOT PEREZ, 28, of Bridgeport, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Alvin W. Thompson in Hartford to multiple offenses related to his theft of 111 firearms from the Smith & Wesson manufacturing plant in Springfield, Mass.
“This defendant is responsible for stealing over 100 illegal firearms and putting some of them directly into the hands of criminals,” stated U.S. Attorney Daly. “These guns are turning up in criminal investigations as far away as North Carolina, and one was used in a recent shooting at a Hartford night club. There is nothing more important to our mission than keeping illegal guns off the streets. We will continue to prioritize these cases and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. We thank the Stratford and Bridgeport Police Departments for their great work in quickly arresting these defendants, and the ATF for their investigative work and ongoing efforts to find the over 50 firearms that have yet to be recovered.”
“Stopping the illegal flow of firearms continues to be one of ATF’s top priorities,” stated Special Agent in Charge Kumor. “This ongoing investigation is another example of what happens when law enforcement works together to make communities safer.”
According to court documents and statements made in court, on November 8, 2012, PEREZ, a truck driver for Pace Motor Lines, picked up five boxes of firearms from the Smith & Wesson manufacturing plant in Springfield and placed the boxes in his truck. At the same time, PEREZ stole three additional boxes containing a total of 111 firearms. PEREZ then drove the truck containing all the firearms to his residence in Bridgeport where he met his cohort Michael Murphy. Shortly thereafter, PEREZ delivered the original five boxes of firearms to the trucking company’s distribution center in Stratford.
PEREZ and Murphy stored and ultimately sold many of the stolen guns.
On November 20, 2012, when interviewed by ATF special agents, PEREZ falsely stated that a “black male” at Smith & Wesson’s manufacturing plant told PEREZ which boxes he was supposed to load onto his truck, and that he delivered all of the firearms he picked up to the distribution center in Stratford.
Prior to November 2012, PEREZ had multiple felony convictions, including convictions for larceny and burglary, and Murphy had a felony conviction for burglary. It is a violation of federal law for a person previously convicted of a felony offense to possess a firearm or ammunition that has moved in interstate or foreign commerce.
PEREZ pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess and sell stolen firearms, one count of possession of firearms by a convicted felon and one count of making a false statement to a federal law enforcement officer. Judge Thompson scheduled sentencing for May 7, at which time PEREZ faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
On December 12, 2013, Murphy, 25, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess and sell stolen firearms and one count of possession of firearms by a convicted felon. He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 21 and faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 15 years.
PEREZ and Murphy were originally arrested by the Stratford Police Department on state firearms charges. PEREZ has been in custody since his state arrest on November 23, 2012, and Murphy has been in custody since his federal arrest on November 30, 2012.
U.S. Attorney Daly noted that two convicted felons found in possession of stolen Smith & Wesson firearms taken during the November 2012 theft are also being prosecuted by her office.
This matter is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Stratford Police Department and the Bridgeport Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rahul Kale.