DOJ: Connecticut man to plead guilty to stealing 17 firearms from West Springfield gun shop

Crime

BOSTON (WWLP) – A Connecticut man accused of stealing firearms from a gun shop in West Springfield has agreed to plead guilty to several charges, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Tuesday. 

According to the court, 31-year-old Christian Castro will plead guilty to one count each of 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, and making false statements to a federal official. 

The charges are in connection with the stealing of 17 firearms from a federal firearms licensee in West Springfield and making false statements to federal agents.  

A plea hearing has not yet been scheduled by the court at this time. 

Castro was charged by criminal complaint in September 2020 along with co-defendant Fernando Rivera. Rivera is scheduled to plead guilty in court on Wednesday. 

Court documents allege that in August 2020, Castro and Rivera engaged in a crime spree in Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts that included seven ATM thefts and the theft of 17 firearms from a federal firearms licensee in West Springfield.

Castro was a felon on state probation for two prior convictions in Connecticut for larceny and possessing narcotics with intent to distribute when he allegedly committed the crimes.

On September 18, 2020, federal agents arrested both men at their homes in Connecticut. Castro admitted to the ATM robberies and the gun store robbery, but falsely stated he never received, kept, or even touched any of the stolen guns, the court said.

Investigators found photos and videos of both men with many of the stolen firearms during a search of Rivera’s phone. A forensic report also revealed communications indicating that on Sept. 4, 2020, Rivera discovered that he was a suspect in the thefts and then traveled with Castro to New York to sell at least three of the stolen firearms. 

Castro could spend more than 10 years in prison, at least three years of supervised release, and more than $250,000 in fines for the charges.

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