SYRACUSE, NEW YORK - Leron T. Ross, 25, of Syracuse, New York was sentenced to serve sixty months (five years) in prison, followed by a three-year term of supervised release for his burglary of a Nedrow gun store, announced United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian and U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge Ashan M. Benedict.
“The theft of nine handguns from a federally licensed dealer presents a clear danger to the public. The fact that five of these remain missing highlights the risk that they may be used in further crimes. The prosecution of criminals who possess or use firearms is among the very highest priorities for my office and we will hold those who commit such crimes fully accountable under the law, as this sentence demonstrates,” said U.S. Attorney Hartunian.
ATF Special Agent in Charge Ashan M. Benedict said, “Burglaries from licensed firearms dealers are a method of choice for arming the criminal element. The fact that some of the firearms recovered in this investigation were recovered in separate law enforcement encounters, and that five firearms have yet to be recovered, highlights the risk that a single burglary can have on the public and law enforcement alike. Licensed dealers are strongly encouraged to take appropriate measures to prevent inventory theft and to ensure site security. Additional information on security can be obtained by contacting your local ATF office or by downloading the ATF guide “Safety and Security Information for Federal Firearms Licensees” available on www.atf.gov. ATF would like to extend our gratitude to the Syracuse Police Department, Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their work on this investigation.”
As part of his guilty plea on June 14, 2016, Ross admitted that he used a sledgehammer to break through the door of Intimidator Sports, also known as E.C.K. Tree and Outdoor Equipment, a federally licensed firearms dealer, in Nedrow, New York, in the early morning hours of November 20, 2014. Upon gaining entry to the store, Leron Ross and another man used bolt cutters to sever a steel cable securing pistols in a display case, stealing nine (9) handguns and departing before Onondaga County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to an alarm tripped by the break-in.
On January 5, 2015, Syracuse Police encountered Leron Ross for failing to stop at a stop sign. As Syracuse Police Officers approached his car, Ross sped off. During a short pursuit, Leron Ross threw a .45 caliber Glock Pistol from his car that was stolen in the E.C.K. burglary. It was later recovered by police. Onondaga County Sheriff’s Deputies obtained a search warrant for the car, which resulted in the discovery of a sledgehammer, gloves, and other items used in the burglary.
On March 12, 2015, Ross pled guilty in Onondaga County Court to Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree in connection with his possession of the single .45 caliber Glock pistol, and was sentenced to thirty (30) months in state prison. The federal sentence imposed today will be consecutive to the previously imposed New York State sentence.
During an interview in state prison in January 2016, Ross admitted to an ATF Special Agent and Onondaga County Sheriff’s Detectives that he had committed the burglary of the gun dealer, stealing nine (9) handguns. According to ATF and the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department, four (4) of the stolen firearms have been recovered by law enforcement agencies to date. The remaining five (5) stolen firearms have not been located.
A second defendant, Andrew Grady, of Syracuse, is also charged by complaint with the theft of firearms from Intimidator Sports. The charges in the complaint are merely accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
This case is being investigated by the United States Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department, with assistance from the Syracuse Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Richard Southwick and Emmet O’Hanlon.