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Man shows off stolen guns to friend, who then turns him in for reward money, feds say

Police tape. (Dreamstime/TNS)

A man accused in a string of robberies in Michigan showed his friend a backpack full of guns, federal authorities said. The friend then went to the police in exchange for reward money, officials said.

The two-night series of robberies began at 4:30 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 11, according to a criminal complaint filed in the Eastern District Court of Michigan on Wednesday, Sept. 14.

A stolen Kia crashed through the front of a gun shop in Westland, Michigan, the complaint says. Seven people got out of the car, rushed into the store, and grabbed about 50 firearms before fleeing on foot, federal authorities said. Security footage captured the robbery that lasted about a minute, Fox 2 reported.

Thirty minutes later, two people broke into a pharmacy about 6 miles away, taking liquor bottles with them, the complaint says.

About the same time, a stolen Dodge drove through the front of a gun shop in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, federal officials said. Three people got out, grabbed about 22 firearms, and left, court documents said.

A stolen Chevrolet crashed into the same Dearborn Heights gun shop about 12:15 a.m. the next day, Monday, Sept. 12, the complaint said. Three people got out, grabbed firearms, then left before returning to steal more guns, according to the complaint.

Surveillance footage and the similar manner of the incidents led law enforcement to believe the same group of people were involved in the robberies, the complaint said. Authorities offered a $20,000 reward for information on the robbery suspects.

Someone approached the Westland police, offering to cooperate for the reward money, federal officials said.

The witness told police that a robbery suspect – and friend – came over on Sept. 11, showing off a backpack full of guns, the complaint says. The suspect – a Michigan man – later sent the friend a news article about the robberies, bragging about being on the news, court records said.

The pair discussed the friend buying one of the suspect’s guns, the complaint said, and the suspect sent a photo of a distinctive handgun identified as stolen from the Dearborn Heights gun shop.

The suspect and his younger brother were arrested on Tuesday, Sept. 13, court records said. The older brother confessed to participating in both robberies of the Dearborn Heights gun shop, the complaint said.

The suspect is facing charges of theft of firearms and knowingly possessing firearms, court records show. The younger brother – who did not participate in the robberies – is facing charges of knowingly possessing stolen firearms, officials said.

Neither brother’s attorney responded to McClatchy News’ request for comment.

Dearborn Heights is about 15 miles west of Detroit, and Westland is about 4 miles further west.


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