EAST ST. LOUIS — A Centralia man pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court for burglarizing the Buchheit of Centralia farm and home supply store and stealing 39 guns, U.S. Attorney Stephen R. Wigginton said in a press release.
Dakota R. Moss, 19, faces up to 40 years in prison for his crimes.
Moss was arrested days after the burglary and indicted by a federal grand jury in December 2014. Moss’ accomplice was not identified because that person is a juvenile.
Facts revealed in court showed that on Nov. 29, 2014, 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 used the truck to ram a locked security gate and enter the Buchheit’s parking lot, where the suspects broke 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 the two suspects left the scene and returned to steal additional firearms and ammunition on two occasions, making three entries into the store between 2:40 a.m. and 4 a.m.
Moss and his accomplice were armed while inside the store and intended to shoot anyone who interrupted the burglary — including police. The complaint alleged Moss and his accomplice stole the firearms to sell the guns and that Ferguson, Mo., was among the potential destinations for the weapons. The affidavit also states that the two planned on participating in the rioting and looting of businesses in the Ferguson 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 have done a fantastic job investigating this case,” Wigginton said. “We fully support their continued investigation to ensure that everyone associated with this event is brought to justice. Moss is facing a longer time in prison than the time he has been on this earth, and for good reason: this was potentially a horribly violent crime which could easily have led to massive numbers of deaths.”
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 who personally worked with the United States Attorney’s Office to ensure that justice is done,” Wigginton said. “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. We will not stop looking for the remaining unrecovered weapons.”
Moss was convicted of stealing firearms from a federal firearms licensee, possession of stolen firearms, being a felon in possession of firearms, and carry and use of a firearm during a crime of violence. The first three charges are all punishable by not more than 10 years’ imprisonment, 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, U.S. sentencing guidelines must be applied to the case and considered by the court during sentencing. Sentencing has been scheduled for July 31.
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.