Men sent to federal prison for Pelham gun store smash-and-grab
BIRMINGHAM – Three Birmingham men involved in a 2017 crime spree that included an armed carjacking and the smash-and-grab theft of 16 guns from a Pelham store were sentenced to prison this week in federal court, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
On Thursday, May 10, U.S. District Judge Karon O. Bowdre sentenced Sidonte Tomar Harris, 20, to seven years in prison and Trevion Keonte Bennett, 22, to 10 years and one month in prison for various firearms violations, including the Jan. 13, 2017, theft of firearms from Alabama Guns and Outdoors in Pelham and for a Jan. 12, 2017, armed carjacking.
On Monday, May 7, the judge sentenced Olando Jackson Jr., 24, to 14 years in prison, for the theft from the licensed gun store and other gun violations. All three men pleaded guilty in December 2017. The court ordered the men to pay $16,000 in restitution to Alabama Guns and Outdoors.
According to court records, Bennett and Harris carjacked a 2010 Dodge Ram truck from a man leaving a Birmingham convenience store on Jan. 12, 2017. Several hours later, just after midnight, the three men stole 16 handguns from Alabama Guns and Outdoors after smashing the stolen truck through the store’s front window.
“This case is a prime example of ATF and local law enforcement working together to make Birmingham, and by extension the Northern District, a safer place,” U.S. Attorney Jay T. Town said. “We will continue to reward criminals and felons in the possession of firearms, and those who steal firearms and who straw-purchase firearms, with bed space in federal prison, returning our neighborhoods to law-abiding citizens.”
“This sentencing is a result of the combined efforts of law enforcement and the community working together to reduce violent crime,” said Marcus Watson, special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “ATF’s Crime Gun Intelligence is the driving force behind the recovery of stolen firearms that potentially could have been used in violent criminal acts within our neighborhoods.”
ATF, within 48 hours of the gun-store break-in, recovered eight of the 16 stolen weapons.
Along with the gun-store theft and carjacking, Harris also was sentenced for possessing a stolen Colt .38-caliber revolver, a Colt 32-20 caliber revolver and a Beretta .40-caliber pistol on Jan. 14, 2017, all which had been stolen from the gun store.
Bennett and Jackson were sentenced for possessing a Heckler and Koch 9mm pistol and a Springfield .40-caliber pistol on Jan. 13, 2017, which had been stolen from the gun store, and for being convicted felons in possession of those and other guns on that date. Jackson also was sentenced for being a convicted felon in possession of firearms on Aug. 22, 2016, and on Oct. 5, 2016, for separate and unrelated crimes.
The guns stolen from Alabama Guns and Outdoors were: a Beretta .40-caliber pistol, two Springfield Armory 9mm pistols, two Springfield Armory .40-caliber pistols, a Springfield Armory .45-caliber pistol, a Colt .32-20 caliber revolver, a Beretta 9mm pistol, a Colt .38 special revolver, two Taurus .357-magnum revolvers, a Taurus .45-caliber revolver, two Smith and Wesson .357-magnum revolvers, a Heckler and Koch 9mm pistol, and a Glock 9mm pistol.
The ATF investigated the case in conjunction with the Pelham Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney L. James Weil Jr. prosecuted the case.
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