Grand Rapids Brothers Sentenced To Prison For Brazen Gun Store Robbery

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FILE PHOTO: American flag waves outside the U.S. Department of Justice Building in Washington

          GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney Mark Totten today announced that Joseph Woods, 33, and his brother, Johon Woods, 28, both of Grand Rapids, were each sentenced to a total of 84 months in prison for stealing 53 firearms from an area gun store.  U.S. District Judge Jane Beckering also ordered a 3-year period of supervised release to follow each defendant’s term of incarceration.                                   

          “My office is focused on disrupting the escalating gun violence that is plaguing our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Mark Totten. “Together with our federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement partners we will continue to pursue, arrest, and prosecute armed criminals and gun traffickers, like the Woods brothers.”

          In the early morning hours of February 23, 2022, Joseph and Johon Woods broke into Al and Bob’s Sports, a licensed gun dealer located in Kent County. The pair scaled a 25-foot wall to gain access to the firearms section of the store, smashed multiple display cases, and grabbed a total of 53 firearms. The brothers then then cut the interior lock of a garage door to pile the guns into their getaway car. The store’s alarm alerted law enforcement of the robbery, who arrived on scene shortly after the break-in. Joseph sped away from the scene in their getaway car, leaving his brother Johon at the scene of the crime. To escape police, Johon stole a nearby Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck. He ultimately crashed this truck into the McDonald’s restaurant located across the street from Al and Bob’s Sports.  Johon, who was on state parole at the time of the robbery, was quickly arrested by police. Inside the pickup truck, police found a pistol that was stolen from Al and Bob’s Sports. The next day police located Joseph Woods still driving the same getaway car. Inside of this car they discovered 14 of the firearms that the brothers stole from Al and Bob’s Sports. Although 21 firearms were recovered during the course of the investigation, there are still 32 firearms that have not been located.  Law enforcement believe that these firearms were sold on the black market. Judge Beckering stated that this crime will have “an extraordinary contribution to the violence in our community.”

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          “Stopping the flow of illegal firearms into our communities is a top priority for ATF,” said, Assistant Special Agent in Charge Craig Kailimai, “This case demonstrates the excellent work of our agents and law enforcement partners in recovering this volume of stolen firearms before violent criminals had the chance to use them on our streets.”  

          This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.   The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime. This case was investigated by the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, Grand Rapids Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin Lane. 

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