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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Wisconsin
Timothy M. O’Shea, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Thursday, February 8, 2024

Trempealeau Man Sentenced to 2 Years in Prison for Stealing Firearms from Rockland Gun Store

MADISON, Wis. — Timothy M. O’Shea, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Nehemiah Sample, 27, Trempealeau, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge William M. Conley to two years in federal prison for stealing firearms from a federal firearms licensee. Sample pleaded guilty to this charge on Oct. 31, 2023.

On April 25, 2023, Sample and two other individuals broke into a gun store in Rockland, Wisconsin, and stole 41 firearms. Officers conducting surveillance later that day saw Sample driving a pickup truck and, when they tried to stop him, he fled. Officers later found the truck abandoned in La Crosse, Wisconsin, with three of the stolen handguns in a bag on the backseat. Sample fled to Arkansas, where he was found in Lake Village trying to sell firearms out of his car. When Lake Village officers attempted to arrest Sample, he fled into a scrap yard. He was eventually taken into custody and officers found a handgun on him, one abandoned in the scrap yard, and five other firearms in his vehicle. All the firearms had been stolen from the Rockland gun store.

At sentencing Judge Conley said that Sample’s decision to sell these stolen guns on the street, including to felons, was an aggravating factor that required a significant sentence.

Codefendant Mackey K. Drake pled guilty to possessing firearms as a felon on Jan. 17. He is scheduled for sentencing on April 3. The case against codefendant Robert E. Benson remains pending and he is presumed innocent unless and until he is found guilty.

The charge against Sample was the result of an investigation conducted by the La Crosse County Sheriff’s Office, the Lake Village, Arkansas, Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Assistant U.S. Attorney Corey Stephan handled the prosecution.

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.


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