For Immediate Release
Peoria Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing Guns from a Federally Licensed Firearms Dealer in Tazewell County
PEORIA, Ill. – Zabian Hatcher, 21, of the 2600 block of Montana Ave, in Peoria, Illinois, pleaded guilty today to charges including conspiring to steal guns from a federal firearms licensee, burglary of a federal firearms licensee, possession of stolen firearms, and possession of firearms by a felon. Sentencing has been scheduled for February 10, 2022.
In court today, before U.S. District Judge James Shadid, Hatcher admitted his involvement in the theft of nine firearms – including a Colt 9mm AR15 rifle equipped with a high- capacity magazine – during the burglary of a gun store in fall 2020.
During the change-of-plea hearing, the government stated that on October 29, 2020, at approximately 2 a.m., Creve Coeur police officers were dispatched to a gun store known as “Thompson Trading Company,” after a window was shattered during a break-in that was captured on store security camera footage. Six individuals participated in the burglary, three of whom were video-recorded as they stole the firearms and three others who remained outside the store.
The government stated that the individuals then fled from an East Peoria police officer in a getaway car until the car struck a curb and sustained damage. Six of the occupants fled, but a seventh person, the driver, stayed in the vehicle and was taken into custody. Two firearms stolen from “Thompson Trading Company” were recovered and two additional firearms from the burglary were found in a nearby driveway. An identification card for Zabian Hatcher was found in the car.
The government noted that shortly after investigators discovered that an Uber driver had picked up five of the six men involved in the burglary after they abandoned the get-away car and dropped them off at residences in North Peoria.
According to the government’s statements in court, Hatcher subsequently acknowledged to investigators that he had participated in the burglary by entering “Thompson Trading Company” and stealing firearms. At the time of the burglary and possession of the guns, Hatcher had been previously convicted of a crime punishable by more than one year in prison.
Hatcher remains in custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending sentencing.
Three others charged in the conspiracy – Tyruis Bramlett, Deondra Proctor, and Devin Price – have also pleaded guilty. All have either been sentenced or have sentencing hearings scheduled. Charges against a fifth individual, Jaquon Timothy, remain pending, and members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
Agencies participating in the investigation include the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); the East Peoria Police Department; the Creve Coeur Police Department; and the Peoria Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald L. Hanna is representing the government in the prosecution.
For the offense of conspiracy to steal from a licensed firearms dealer, the statutory penalty is up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and three years of supervised release following imprisonment.
The offenses of stealing from a licensed firearms dealer, possession of stolen firearms, and possession of a firearm by a felon each carry a statutory penalty of up to ten years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and three years of supervised release following imprisonment.