A Centralia resident charged by criminal complaint on Dec. 3 was indicted by a federal grand jury on Tuesday, Dec. 16, for burglarizing a federal firearms licensee, U.S. Attorney Stephen R. Wigginton said in a press release Thursday.
Dakota R. Moss, 19, faces four felony charges for his role in burglarizing the Buchheit of Centralia Farm and Home Supply Store and stealing 39 guns. The charges against Moss in the indictment are the same as those originally brought in the criminal complaint. Moss’ accomplice was not identified because that person is a juvenile under federal law.
The complaint affidavit previously filed in the district court stated that on Nov. 29, the store was burglarized and 39 firearms were stolen, along with at least 1,000 rounds of ammunition. The burglary was accomplished using a full-size pickup truck stolen from Centralia High School. The suspects utilized the stolen truck to ram the locked security gate to make entry onto Buchheit’s parking lot, where the suspects then broke out store windows to make entry into the store. The surveillance video established that the initial burglary occurred at approximately 2:40 a.m. However, the video evidence revealed that the two suspects left the scene and returned to steal additional firearms and ammunition on two occasions — thereby making a total of three entries into the store between 2:40 a.m. and 4 a.m.
The complaint affidavit said Moss and his juvenile accomplice were armed while inside of Buchheit’s and intended to shoot anyone who interrupted the burglary — including police. The complaint alleged that Moss and his accomplice stole the firearms to sell the guns; and that Ferguson, Mo., was among the planned potential destinations for the weapons. The affidavit also states that the two planned on participating in the looting of businesses in the Ferguson, Mo. area, but the plan did not materialize.
Centralia Police and agents from the ATF identified the suspects soon after the burglary and have recovered 37 of the 39 stolen guns as of this date. Anyone with knowledge of the remaining stolen firearms or the ammunition is encouraged to call law enforcement.
“The ATF and the Centralia Police Department are to be commended for having already recovered 37 of the stolen firearms,” Wigginton said. “They have kept those guns out of the hands of criminals.”
Wigginton also praised the cooperation from Clinton County State’s Attorney John Hudspeth.
“The state’s attorney has been a valuable partner in this investigation,” Wigginton said. “He personally ensured that these two suspects remained in custody while the federal investigation was ongoing. We look forward to continuing this joint investigation to ensure that everyone who participated in the crime is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
The indictment charges Moss with stealing firearms from a federal firearms licensee, possession of stolen firearms, being a felon in possession of firearms, and with carry and use of a firearm during a crime of violence. The first three charges are all punishable by not more than 10 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine, and not more than five years supervised release. Carry and use of a firearm during a crime of violence carries an additional mandatory consecutive sentence of not less than five years. However, as in any case, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines must be applied to the case and considered by the court during sentencing.
The investigation is being conducted by agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Centralia Police Department, along with the Clinton County State’s Attorney’s office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven D. Weinhoeft.
An indictment is a formal charge against a defendant. Under the law, a defendant is presumed to be innocent of a charge until proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to the satisfaction of a jury.