Chicago area men sentenced to federal prison for stealing firearms

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- A suburban Chicago man was sentenced yesterday in federal court before U.S. District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly to 96 months in federal prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release, for one count of stealing firearms from a licensed firearms dealer and one count of conspiring to steal firearms from licensed firearm dealers.

43-year-old Kevin Culps of Dolton Ill., who pleaded guilty on September 17, 2019, was sentenced in two separate but related cases. With respect to the first case, Culps admitted that, in the early hours of April 18, 2017, he, his co-defendant,24-year-old Bruce Walker of Calumet City, Ill., and another individual obtained a stolen vehicle and drove from Cook County to a federally-licensed firearms dealer in Manteno, Ill.

The three individuals used a hammer to shatter one of the business’s glass exterior doors and entered the premises. After entering, they attempted to break into a firearms safe inside the gun store, but were unsuccessful. Culps, however, stole a rifle with a 30-round magazine hidden inside the office of the gun store.

Culps, Walker, and the other individual also stole boxes of ammunition before fleeing the premises, and returning to Cook County with the stolen rifle and ammunition. About three hours later, Culps, Walker, and the other individual used the same stolen vehicle to drive to another federally-licensed firearms dealer located in Tinley Park, Ill.

They attempted to shatter the front glass door and front window of the gun store, but after failing to shatter the glass, they fled back to the stolen vehicle where their getaway driver was waiting.

Walker pleaded guilty on Feb. 20, 2019, to one count of conspiring to steal a firearm from a licensed firearms dealer and one count of possessing a stolen firearm. Walker was sentenced on May 30, 2019, to a total of 92 months, to be served concurrently with a separate state sentence Walker was serving, followed by 3 years of supervised release.

With respect to the second case in which Culps was sentenced, Culps and his co-defendant in that case, 24-year-old Paris L. Brown of Chicago, Ill., admitted that they drove in a stolen vehicle from Cook County to a licensed firearms dealer in Loves Park, Ill.

Culps used a hammer to break through the glass exterior door, and Culps and Brown stole 12 handguns and rifles from the gun store. Culps and Brown concealed the stolen firearms in the trunk of the stolen vehicle and drove back to Cook County where they intended to sell and distribute the stolen firearms.

Brown pleaded guilty on Jan. 9, 2019, to stealing firearms from a licensed firearms dealer and conspiring to do so. Brown was sentenced on June 28, 2019, to 72 months in prison followed by 3 years of supervised release.

As part of their sentences, Culps, Brown, and Walker were also ordered to pay restitution to the gun stores that they burglarized. The sentencing was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Timothy Jones, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives.

The Loves Park, Manteno, Chicago, Tinley Park, and Lombard Police Departments and the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the investigation