Two men arrested in string of gun shop burglaries

WILLIS

ROCKFORD – Two Rockford men have been charged by a federal grand jury with firearms offenses.

Kyland Willis, 20, and Martaevien Q. Stevenson, 20, were each charged with one count of conspiracy to steal firearms from a licensed firearms dealer and to possess stolen firearms, one count of stealing firearms from a licensed firearms dealer, and one count of possessing stolen firearms.

The indictment alleges that on Jan. 3, 2018, Willis, Stevenson, and a third individual broke into the store of a firearms licensee in Belvidere and stole approximately 29 firearms.  The indictment further alleges that Willis, Stevenson, and a third individual attempted to break into the firearms licensee’s store again on Jan. 8 and Jan. 10, 2018.

Willis was also charged in a separate case with one count of conspiracy to steal firearms from a licensed firearms dealer and to possess stolen firearms, two counts of stealing firearms from the licensed firearms dealer, and two counts of possessing stolen firearms.

The indictment in that case alleges that on Dec. 15, 2017, Willis broke into the store of a firearms licensee in Loves Park and stole approximately 11 firearms.  The indictment further alleges that on Dec. 27, 2017, Willis and another individual broke into the store of the same firearms licensee and stole an additional 13 firearms.  The indictment further alleges that Willis and the other individual also attempted to break into the store of another firearms licensee in Loves Park on Dec. 26, 2017.

The charges were announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Celinez Nunez, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives.  The investigation was conducted by ATF, the Loves Park Police Department, the Belvidere Police Department, and the Rockford Police Department. The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office also assisted in the investigation. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Talia Bucci.

Each conspiracy count carries a maximum potential penalty of up to five years’ imprisonment, followed by up to three years’ supervised release.  Each count of possessing stolen firearms and stealing firearms from a licensed dealer carries a maximum potential penalty of up to ten years’ imprisonment, followed by up to three years’ supervised release.

Each count alleged in the indictments also carries a fine of up to $250,000.  If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines, and order full restitution.

Stevenson was arrested and appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Iain D. Johnston on Oct. 30, 2018, and pleaded not guilty.  Stevenson’s detention hearing is scheduled for Nov. 1, 2018 at 2:30 p.m.  Willis is currently in state custody on other charges and is scheduled to appear for arraignment on Nov. 15, 2018, at 11:00 a.m. before U.S. Magistrate Johnston.

The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt.  The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. R.

You might also like

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!