DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Two men who allegedly burglarized a Dallas firearms business during the protests over George Floyd’s death have been charged with federal gun crimes.READ MORE: 11-Year-Old Fatally Shot By Child Who Found Gun In Vehicle At Dallas Walmart, Police Say
Demonte Kelly, 18, and Lejael Rudley, 19, were charged with theft from a Federal Firearms Licensee and possession of stolen firearms, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox announced.
“Theft of firearms will always trigger swift law enforcement action,” said U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox. “We are thankful to the members of the public who stepped up to help law enforcement track down these men and their stolen guns. This prosecution sends a message: Federal law enforcement will not allow criminals to use the turmoil facing our city as cover for their own lawless ends.”
According to the criminal complaint unsealed Friday, a surveillance camera recorded three men leaving DFW Gun Range around 1:45 a.m. on Sunday, May 31, shortly after the theft of more than 40 firearms.
In the span of 80 seconds, the trio allegedly pried open the side entrance of the facility, grabbed three rifles posted on the wall, and smashed glass cases to snatch several dozen handguns stored inside.
“Recovering stolen firearms is a priority for ATF and the community,” stated ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Dallas Division Jeffrey C. Boshek II. “My thanks to the agents, investigators and members of the public who worked swiftly to identify these men so quickly after the burglary.”
In the span of 80 seconds, the trio allegedly pried open the side entrance of the facility, grabbed three rifles posted on the wall and smashed glass cases to snatch several dozen handguns stored inside.
Following ATF’s release of the surveillance video, a tipster identified one of the men as Demonte Kelly of Dallas.
Dallas police officers tracked Kelly to a hotel in southeast Dallas, where they saw him with Rudley and a third man, later identified as S.J. Mr. Kelly then drove off in a red Jeep with paper plates.READ MORE: Tony Evans Jr., Lancaster Football Player And University Of Wyoming Recruit, Killed In Shooting At Dallas Hotel
With ATF running point on surveillance, Dallas police conducted a traffic stop on the Jeep. Inside the vehicle, officers discovered one of the stolen weapons.
During an interview with ATF, Kelly identified himself in the surveillance video, admitted to burglarizing the gun range, and gave agents written consent to search his hotel room.
He also admitted to selling one of the stolen firearms to an unknown individual.
Inside his hotel room, agents recovered four additional stolen firearms, 76 rounds of assorted ammunition and baggies of crack cocaine.
Rudley also admitted to burglarizing the gun range and gave agents written consent to search his hotel room, where agents recovered a sixth stolen firearm.
The defendants made their initial court appearances Friday. If convicted, they face up to 20 years in federal prison.
The third individual allegedly involved in the burglary, identified as S.J., remains at large.
ATF and the U.S. Attorney’s Office urge the public to report any information they have on the whereabouts of S.J. or the stolen weapons: 888-ATF-TIPS, ATFTips@atf.gov, online, @Reportitcom, or text ATFDAL to 63975.MORE NEWS: Ramsey Clark, Dallas Native And Former US Attorney General, Dies At 93
ATF has partnered with the National Shooting Sports Foundation to offer a $10,000 reward.