Anne Arundel County Police recently arrested two teenagers ages 14 and 16 for attempting to steal firearms from a Glen Burnie gun store. Just before 4 a.m. in the morning police observed a white Ford van that crashed into the gun shop, and soon thereafter located two juvenile suspects in the process of stealing firearms from the store’s gun cases. The juveniles were arrested without further incident and charged with multiple criminal offenses, and could be facing more charges according to media reports. Police learned that the van in question was also involved in an attempted burglary in Pasadena earlier in the night. Two other gun stores, including one in Anne Arundel County and one in Montgomery County, were also recently burglarized over the last couple of weeks and suspects had not been apprehended and charged at the time of this latest incident. The Montgomery County burglary occurred on the night of Thanksgiving, just after midnight. According to police this incident involved five or six individuals who rammed a stolen black sedan into the front of the gun shop, and then fled the scene with multiple firearms. The same store was unsuccessfully targeted just one week prior.
The ATF is investigating all of these burglaries to see if there is any connection, and federal charges would likely follow if any of the thieves turn out to be adults. Juveniles can be prosecuted at the federal level, but state prosecutions are far more common even in crimes that could be charged federally. Theft of a gun from the premises of a licensed firearms dealer is punishable under 18 U.S.C. section 842(h), and a violation of this law carries up to 10 years in prison. The logic behind making this a federal crime is that all firearms dealers must have a FFL or Federal Firearms License that is issued by the ATF. The feds must approve anyone who chooses to sell, import or manufacture guns, so stealing from one of these licensees was established as a federal crime. This is akin to bank robbery being a federal crime due to almost all banks being insured by the FDIC.
The exact charges in the Anne Arundel County case have not been announced publicly, as all juvenile cases and adult charges involving juvenile defendants are sealed from public view and inspection. This was not always the case, as until recently juveniles that were charged as adults had their cases entered on Maryland judiciary case search, which is easily accessible to the public. This has been a source of contention for the criminal defense community, as many of these charges ended up being dismissed or transferred to juvenile court after the damage of public knowledge was already done. Thankfully, changes occurred that now protect juvenile defendants. In addition, recent case law from the Maryland’s highest court has moved the needle in favor of transfer if there is any possibility of the juvenile benefiting from programs or services provided by DJS.
If you or a loved one is facing a state or federal gun charge anywhere in Maryland contact gun crime lawyer Benjamin Herbst anytime for a free consultation. Benjamin defends those charged with all types of firearms offenses and specializes in Maryland juvenile gun charges. The gun laws in Maryland are especially harsh compared to other states, and the feds are routinely electing to prosecute those who would normally stand trial in state court. This is especially true in Baltimore City and County, and other jurisdictions in the Baltimore and Washington metro area. Benjamin has successfully defended hundreds of clients in gun crimes such as illegal possession of a firearm, minor in possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm at a federal facility. He also handles burglary and theft charges, and is available 7 days a week to offer a free consultation about your case. Benjamin can provide a detailed analysis of any possible defenses that may be available. Contact The Herbst Firm at 410-207-2598 in Maryland and at 954-543-0305 if you have a criminal defense matter in Florida and wish to speak to an experienced attorney.