For Immediate Release
Friday, September 21, 2018
, United States Attorney
Scott C. Blader
Contact: Julie Pfluger
Man Sentenced to 30 Months for His Role in Cross Plains Firearms Store Burglary
St. Paul Field Division
Madison, Wis. – Scott C. Blader, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Khalil Lites, 19, Madison, Wisconsin, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge William Conley to 30 months in federal prison for conspiring to burglarize a business selling firearms, and for possessing and concealing one of the firearms stolen in that burglary. Lites pleaded guilty to these charges on June 12, 2018.
At about 3:30 am on October 20, 2017, three young men smashed a stolen vehicle through the locked storefront of PT Firearms in Cross Plains, Wisconsin, gaining access to the store and its inventory. Within minutes, they had grabbed 14 firearms, mostly semi-automatic handguns, and fled.
The Dane County Sheriff’s Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Cross Plains and Madison Police Departments launched an investigation which led to discovery of social media videos posted within hours of the burglary showing Lites and others displaying guns similar to those taken in the heist. An investigation by the Baraboo Police Department led to the recovery of one of the stolen firearms in Lites’ residence, and a second stolen handgun was found in Lites’ possession when he was stopped by Chicago police in mid-November 2017.
Judge Conley said that in arriving at an appropriate sentence, he considered Lites’ youth and relative lack of prior criminal record, but also the seriousness of the firearms theft and the fact that most of the 14 firearms remain unrecovered, presenting a danger to the public.
Keith Harris, 25, also of Madison, was sentenced on July 5, 2018, by Judge Conley to 24 months in federal prison for possessing a firearm stolen in the PT Firearms burglary.
This case has been brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the U.S. Justice Department’s program to reduce violent crime. The PSN approach emphasizes coordination between state and federal prosecutors and all levels of law enforcement to address gun crime, especially felons illegally possessing firearms and ammunition and violent and drug crimes that involve the use of firearms.
The charges against Lites resulted from an investigation conducted by the Dane County Sheriff’s Office, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Madison, Cross Plains and Baraboo Police Departments. The prosecution of the case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert A. Anderson.