SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A Connecticut man pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Springfield to a variety of charges in connection with stealing 17 firearms from a West Springfield gun shop and making false statements to federal agents.
According to the office of Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell, 24-year-old Fernando Rivera of New Britain, Connecticut pleaded guilty to one count each of the following:
- Theft of a firearm from a Federal Firearms Licensee
- Being a felon in possession of a firearm
- Interstate transportation of a stolen firearm
- Receipt, possession, concealment, storage, barter, sale, or disposition of a stolen firearm in interstate commerce
- Making false statements to a federal official.
Rivera’s sentencing is scheduled for September 15, 2021.
In September 2020, Rivera was charged by a criminal complaint with co-defendant Christian Castro, who agreed to plead guilty Wednesday. Rivera was a felon on state probation for a prior narcotics charge in Connecticut. According to Mendell, shortly after midnight on or about August 29, 2020, Rivera and Castro engaged in a crime spree in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts that included seven ATM thefts which lead to the theft of 17 firearms from a Federal Firearms Licensee in West Springfield.
On September 18, 2020, federal agents arrested the two men at their homes in Connecticut.
The firearms charges each provide for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. The charge of making false statements provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, up to three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000.