For Immediate Release
Employee of Deep River Gun Frame Manufacturer Pleads Guilty to Federal Firearms Violations
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 ROBERT BRINKERHOFF, 54, of Old Lyme, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill in Bridgeport to violating federal firearms laws. BRINKERHOFF works as the general manager of Tri-Town Plastics, a federally-licensed firearms manufacturer located in Deep River.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Tri-Town Plastics (“Tri-Town”) has a contract with Smith and Wesson to manufacturer firearm frames at its Deep River facility. In February 2012, after the Plainfield Police Department seized a Smith and Wesson 9 millimeter handgun from a residence, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) learned that Smith and Wesson had no record of the handgun ever having been manufactured. A review of Tri-Town’s records revealed that the handgun had been scrapped in March 2011.
The investigation revealed that, in 2009, ATF had directed Tri-Town to address some record-keeping issues that were uncovered during a routine inspection. In March 2011, while ATF was preparing to conduct another routine inspection of Tri-Town, two Tri-Town employees discovered that there were approximately 23 firearms missing from their inventory. Rather than report the firearms as missing, the employees falsely listed them as “scrapped” in Tri-Town’s acquisition and disposition records so that ATF would not learn that they were missing and would renew Tri-Town’s license. Soon after ATF contacted Tri-Town in February 2012 to inquire about the Smith and Wesson handgun that was seized in Plainfield, one of the Tri-Town employees responsible for the fraudulent scrapping advised BRINKERHOFF of the phony record entries that were recorded in March 2011. BRINKERHOFF waited until June 2012 to cause a theft/loss report that listed the 23 missing firearms to be filed with ATF. However, the report failed to advise ATF that all of the firearms had been falsely listed as scrapped in March 2011.
BRINKERHOFF pleaded guilty to one count of failing to file a theft/loss report and one count of making false statements in a theft/loss report. Judge Underhill scheduled sentencing for June 2, 2014, at which time BRINKERHOFF faces a maximum term of imprisonment of one year and a fine of up to $100,000 on each count.
This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert M. Spector and Vanessa Richards.