Waldorf Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing Guns, Torching the Store

GREENBELT, Md. (Dec. 16, 2015)—Edward White, age 46, of Waldorf, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to theft of firearms and use of fire during the commission of a felony, in connection with the robbery and arson of a federally licensed firearms dealer.

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge William P. McMullan of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Baltimore Field Division; and Charles County Sheriff Troy Berry.

According to his plea agreement, in February 2014, White planned to burglarize Fred's Sports and Furniture, a federally licensed firearms dealer in Waldorf, Maryland. In preparation for the burglary White took photographs outside and inside the store, including the fence, gate, the padlock used to secure the gate, guns, and display cases containing the guns. White also accessed the roof of the store by climbing the HVAC system at the rear of the building, and took photos of the roof and the HVAC system. White's DNA was recovered from a beam next to the HVAC system. White shared the photos with at least one co-conspirator.

On October 13, 2014, co-conspirators robbed Fred's Sports and set it on fire. Specifically, co-conspirators cut the chain and padlock previously photographed by White, using bolt cutters provided by White. At least one co-conspirator climbed onto the roof of the building and cut a hole in the roof at the same location photographed by White. A co-conspirator, wearing a mask and gloves, entered the store and gathered more than 70 handguns from display cases throughout the store. After more than an hour, the co-conspirators poured an accelerant on the floor throughout the interior of the store, exited through the hole in the roof and ignited the accelerant. The fire destroyed Fred's Sports and rendered the building uninhabitable. After the burglary, one of the co-conspirators gave White at least two of the stolen firearms.

Law enforcement officers recovered White's cell phone near the rear of the store. The phone contained the photos of Fred's Sports taken by White.

On November 6, 2014, law enforcement executed a search warrant at White's home and recovered a .380 handgun stolen from Fred's Sports and five .40 caliber rounds of ammunition. White's DNA was on the trigger guard. White agreed to go with law enforcement officers to the Charles County Sheriff's Office, where he requested to use the rest room. While in the toilet stall, White placed a black cloth object in the trash can next to the toilet. Law enforcement subsequently searched the trash can and discovered a black cloth belly band holster containing a .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun, loaded with a magazine and 10 rounds of ammunition. This firearm was also stolen from Fred's Sports on October 13, 2014. The next day, law enforcement searched White's car and recovered the bolt cutters used during the robbery.

White and the government have agreed that if the Court accepts the plea agreement White will be sentenced to between 13 and 17 years in prison. U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang has scheduled sentencing for April 11, 2016.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the ATF and Charles County Sheriff's Office for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Daniel C. Gardner, who prosecuted the case.

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