GREENBELT, Md. (May 20, 2016)—U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang sentenced Edward White, age 46, of Waldorf, Maryland, today to 13 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for 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 sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Acting Special Agent in Charge Frank Riehl of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Baltimore Field Division; and Charles County Sheriff Troy Berry.
"ATF worked hand-in-hand with the Charles County Sheriff's Office as well as federal prosecutors to build a strong case against Mr. White in an effort to hold him responsible for the theft of firearms and arson of Fred's Sporting Goods," said ATF Acting Special Agent in Charge Frank Riehl. "The hard work of ATF's DNA chemists and the Charles County Forensic Science Unit provided unquestionable scientific evidence as to White's participation in this crime."
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 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.
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 found on the firearm. White, who was not under arrest at the time, 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.
In addition to the two stolen guns recovered from White, several of the firearms stolen from Fred's Sports were recovered in Washington, D.C., including: two guns used in separate shootings - one in which the victim was found next to the gun; one gun used in a robbery; one gun used in a carjacking; one gun recovered from a brothel; and two guns used in separate domestic altercations.
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.