Branchland man second to plead in firearms theft from gun dealer

HUNTINGTON – A Branchland man who helped break in a local pawn shop and steal firearms pled guilty, June 18, 2018, in federal court in Huntington. The plea was announced by United States Attorney Mike Stuart.  Jonathan Chafin, 18, entered a guilty plea to theft of firearms from a federally licensed firearms dealer before United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers.  Stuart applauded the investigation was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) with assistance from the West Hamlin Police Department. The plea of his co-accused was reported some weeks ago in The Lincoln Journal.

“Theft of firearms is a very serious crime,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart.  “Stolen firearms most often end up in the wrong hands and involved in violent crimes – crimes that could kill law enforcement and other innocent people.  We cannot and will not tolerate such reckless disregard for the safety of our citizens.  Chafin and his codefendant should pay a serious price for their crimes. ”

On December 7, 2017, Chafin and Robert Lee Reid broke into Sportsmen’s Gun and Pawn located at 6440 US Route 60 in Barboursville to steal firearms.  Reid entered Sportsmen’s through a hole he and Chafin broke in the wall and stole a total of 10 firearms.  While inside, Reid passed the firearms through the hole in the wall to Chafin who waited outside.  Chafin and Reid were subsequently picked up in a vehicle and the vehicle was stopped in West Hamlin by a West Hamlin Police Officer.  During the traffic stop, the officer located the stolen firearms in the rear of the vehicle where Chafin and Reid were seated.  As part of his plea, Chafin also admitted that he assisted Reid in the May 15, 2017, theft of a total of 164 firearms, also from Sportsmen’s. 

 Chafin faces up to 10 years in federal prison when he is sentenced on September 18, 2018.

 Reid pleaded guilty on June 11, 2017, to multiple federal firearms charges for his role in the thefts and is scheduled to be sentenced on September 10, 2017.

 Assistant United States Attorney Joseph F. Adams is handling the prosecution.  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.   Attorney General Jeff Sessions 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.