A man from Texas has pleaded guilty in federal court for stealing 657 firearms en route to Bass Pro Shops.
Prosecutors say Frank McChriston, from Ponder, Texas, has been in custody since he was arrested in January. Quinton Haywood, 27, of Glenn Heights, Texas, previously pleaded guilty to the same charges.
McChriston could face to up to 20 years in prison without parole.
Here is more information provided by the United States Attorney Western District of Missouri:
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A Ponder, Texas, man pleaded guilty in federal court today to his stealing 654 firearms from United Parcel Service trailers in Springfield, Mo., en route to Bass Pro Shops.
Frank McChriston, 34, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush to the charges contained in a Feb. 21, 2018, federal indictment. McChriston has remained in federal custody since his arrest in January 2018.
Co-defendant Quinton Haywood, 27, of Glenn Heights, Texas, has pleaded guilty to the same charges.
By pleading guilty today, McChriston admitted that he aided and abetted Haywood and others to steal cargo that was being shipped across state lines, from Beretta USA in Maryland to the state of Missouri. McChriston also pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting Haywood and others to possess stolen firearms.
According to court documents, McChriston, Haywood, and others stole 600 Beretta .380-caliber handguns and 54 Beretta 12-gauge shotguns from United Parcel Service (UPS) trailers in Springfield in October 2017.
The firearms were in the process of being shipped from Beretta Firearms in Maryland to Bass Pro Shops in Springfield. The trailers in which the firearms were shipped had been parked in the UPS freight lot in a configuration to prevent access to the trailer doors, by being parked back-to-back, with the roll-up doors facing each other. The trailers were then blocked by longer trailers, which should have acted as a preventative measure from someone backing a truck-tractor to the trailer and pulling it forward.
Sometime between noon on Oct. 28, 2017, and 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 29, 2017, thieves hot-wired two truck-tractors and used them to push and pull various trailers around the lot, allowing the thieves access to the trailer doors. UPS employees discovered the theft on Oct. 29, 2017, and notified law enforcement.
Under federal statutes, McChriston is subject to a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by the Springfield, Mo., Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Dallas, Texas, Police Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety.