Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele, Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub, Special Agent-in-Charge Eric DeGree of ATF’s Philadelphia Field Division; and Springfield Township Police Chief Michael Pitkow announced on January 25th the arrests of two adults and 11 juveniles on charges related to three burglaries and one attempted burglary of federal firearms licensed dealers, i.e. gun stores, in Montgomery and Bucks Counties. In total, 93 firearms were stolen. Just 33 firearms have been recovered by law enforcement, leaving 60 firearms on the streets and unaccounted for.
In adult court, two adults and two direct-filed juveniles, all from Philadelphia, were charged: Angel Mason (far left above), 40, of Poplar Street, Elijah Terrell (second to left), 16, also of Poplar Street, Donte Purnell (second to right), 22, of Olympus Place, and Liv Hall (far right), 18, of Parish Street. Nine juveniles from West Philadelphia, who ranged in age from 14 to 17 years old, were charged in Juvenile Court and thus, cannot be named in press materials.
The three burglaries and an attempted burglary of gun stores occurred between September 24, 2022, and November 20, 2022. All were overnight burglaries that occurred between 2:00 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. In each successful burglary, a group of the defendants gained access to each gun store, smashed glass display cases, and grabbed numerous firearms before fleeing.
The burglary in Lafayette Hill (Springfield Township) took place on September 24 2022 at 4:22 a.m. at Founding Fathers Outfitters. In this burglary, 26 firearms were stolen. Thus far, six have been recovered, including one used in a shooting incident in Philadelphia and one found on a suspect involved in a September 29, 2022 homicide in Philadelphia.
In the criminal complaint, investigators provide details on the several methods used to collect evidence against the defendants, including obtaining the messages back and forth between the group members as they planned the Lafayette Hill burglary. You can find the complaint here.
All of the defendants have been charged with felony charges related to operating a Corrupt Organization, Conspiracy, Criminal Use of a Communications Facility, and firearms trafficking charges. Other charges against defendants include Burglary, Criminal Trespass, Robbery, Theft by Unlawful Taking, Receiving Stolen Property, Aggravated Assault, Simple Assault, Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Police Officer, Possessing an Instrument of Crime, among others.
Mason was arrested on charges of Corrupt Organizations, Possession Of Firearms Prohibited, Firearms Not To Be Carried Without License, Conspiracy, Criminal Use of Communication Facility, and Tampering with or Fabricating Physical Evidence and arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Jay S. Friedenberg, who set bail at $5,000 10 percent. Following a bail review hearing, bail remained unchanged. She posted bail and was released.
Purnell was arrested on charges of Corrupt Organizations, Receiving Stolen Property, Sales to Ineligible Transferee, Criminal Use of Communication Facility, and Tampering With or Fabricating Physical Evidence. He was arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Jodi Lukens Griffis, who set bail at $150,000 unsecured, and Purnell was released.
Terrell was arrested on charges of Corrupt Organizations, Receiving Stolen Property, Sales to Ineligible Transferee, Firearms Not to Be Carried Without A License, Simple Assault, Possession of a Firearm By A Minor, Theft By Unlawful Taking, Possession of an Instrument of Crime, Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Aggravated Assault, Robbery and Criminal Use of Communication Facility. He was arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Suzan Leonard, who set bail at $100,000. Terrell was remanded to the Montgomery County Youth Center.
Hall is awaiting arraignment in Montgomery County on charges of Corrupt Organizations, Aggravated Assault, Burglary, Conspiracy, Criminal Trespass/Breaking into a Structure, Sales to Ineligible Transferee, Firearms Not to Be Carried Without A License, and related charges. She is incarcerated in Philadelphia on unrelated charges.
A preliminary hearing for defendants Mason, Purnell, and Terrell is scheduled for 9 a.m., Feb. 13, 2023, before Magisterial District Judge Catherine E. McGill. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Samantha Arena, who is a member of the Firearms Unit.
Photo: Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office