WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA – Two Connecticut men were charged in federal court in Springfield on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020 in connection with the theft of 17 firearms from a firearms store in West Springfield.
Fernando Rivera, 24, and Christian Castro, 29, were charged in a criminal complaint with one count each of stealing firearms from a federal firearms licensee.
As alleged in charging documents, on Aug. 29, 2020, Rivera, Castro and others drove in two cars, one of which was stolen and driven by Castro, from Connecticut through Massachusetts to Vermont and New Hampshire, and then back through those three states to Connecticut. At various locations in Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire, members of this group either stole, or attempted to steal, ATMs. Finally, in West Springfield, both cars stopped near a firearms store, and three men exited the car driven by Castro, broke the doors of the store and stole 17 firearms of various calibers. The cars then returned to Connecticut, where the stolen car was abandoned.
The charging statute provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Kelly D. Brady, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Boston Feld Division made the announcement. The West Springfield Police Department, New Britain (Conn.) Police Department and the Massachusetts State Police provided assistance with the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven H. Breslow of Lelling’s Springfield Branch Office is prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the complaint are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.