Men Charged in Virginia Gun Store Burglaries; Only 1 Gun Recovered

Investigators used a tip and images of the suspects' distinctive boots

Three men have been charged with burglarizing three gun stores in the D.C. area in less than a week. 

Federal prosecutors said the men stole 35 semi-automatic handguns. However, only one has been found by officials, and the rest are still missing.

Preston G. Holmes, 23, Matthew D. Jones, 23, and Daniel L. Quarles, 19, were charged with conspiracy and theft of firearms. 

On March 11, prosecutors said the men broke into 50 West Armory in Chantilly, Virginia, and stole 35 semi-automatic handguns.

Video footage showed three people smashing the front glass door and breaking the glass display counters with a hammer. They removed the guns from the display counters, put them into a plastic bin and rushed outside to a waiting U-Haul. They appeared to be wearing distinctive UGG brand boots. 

On March 14, prosecutors said the men broke into Ash Tactical in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Surveillance video showed a similar U-Haul van in front of the business, and the suspects carrying a plastic bin and breaking the glass front door with a hammer.

The guns at Ash Tactical were all stored in a safe after business hours. The suspects took only the cash box from behind the counter, which contained $100 to $150, according to an Ash Tactical employee. The footage showed two people wearing the same UGG boots seen in the Chantilly burglary. 

About 30 minutes later, the U-Haul was spotted in another surveillance video, outside SSG Tactical in Fredericksburg. The men were seen exiting the U-Haul, carrying the plastic bins. They broke the front glass door but were unable to break through the interior cage door with a crowbar. After kicking the cage door, the suspects fled. 

According to an affidavit, a tipster told officials they knew where the suspects lived, on the unit block of H Street, Northwest, just northwest of Union Station. The tipster said the U-Haul used in the burglaries was in a parking garage nearby, and most of the stolen guns already had been sold. 

Officials went to the parking garage and found the U-Haul with paperwork in plain view with Holmes’ name on it, as well as plastic bins consistent with those seen in the surveillance video, officials said. Tools consistent with those used in the burglaries were found inside. 

A search of the apartment revealed the plastic bins, pieces of broken glass and a pair of UGG boots like those seen in the video.

Surveillance video showed Jones inside the U-Haul, as well as individuals interacting with someone inside a navy blue Lexus, which was registered to Holmes, officials said. 

Montgomery County police are investigating whether the three suspects robbed a Rockville gun store on March 9.

Each defendant faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison if convicted.

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