Three Fort Drum-area Soldiers have been accused of being connected with a series of upstate New York gun shop burglaries after nine stolen firearms were found in their possession.
Two Fort Drum soldiers pleaded guilty Tuesday to burglarizing North Country gun shops and stealing 10 weapons.
Rian Patterson, 22, and Devin Diggs, 20, were charged in October after investigators traced the alleged burglars, who were captured on two stores’ surveillance cameras.
The men were both stationed at Fort Drum when two licensed firearms dealers were burglarized in September last year.
Investigators used surveillance footage, witnesses and New York state’s license plate readers to track down the suspects, according to court records. Fort Drum officials also found two guns during a separate search conducted due to drug activity in a unit there.
A third soldier who lives in Evans Mills but works at the base, was charged in connection with case. Tyrease Kimmons, 20, admitted to getting three rifles from Patterson and Diggs after the burglaries.
Some of the firearms, five in total, were located in a duffel bag under Kimmons’ bed, court records said. The guns were loaded at the time they were recovered, according the court records.
Patterson admitted to the two thefts and possession of stolen firearms. He faces up to years in prison on each of those counts. He also admitted obliterating the serial number on one of the stolen guns, which carries up to five years in prison. Patterson reached a plea agreement with prosecutors. Prosecutors wrote they would ask a judge for leniency due to Patterson’s acceptance of responsibility. Patterson in court papers said he would not appeal a sentence of more than about 3 1/2 years in prison.
Diggs did not sign a plea agreement but nonetheless admitted to the two thefts and possession of stolen firearms. Those charges each carry up to 10 years in prison.
Patterson and Diggs are both scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas McAvoy in May.
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Rian Patterson, Devon Diggs, and Tyrease Kimmons reportedly stole nine firearms from two shops in the North County region in the span of three weeks, with their first robbery being from Bowman’s Gun Shop in Gouvernuer on September 4 of last year.
Tim Bowman, owner of Bowman’s Gun Shop, served in the Iraq War and worked as a Corrections Officer for New York, according to his social media.
Video surveillance footage showed that at least two of them wore masks during the raid on Bowman’s, and subsequently did so when raiding Graham’s Guns in De Kalb Junction on September 29.
According to Syracuse.com, law enforcement utilized CCTV footage and the New York license plate reader system to track down the vehicle.
After running the vehicle information, they discovered that the vehicle belonged to Diggs, who later admitted to being one of the planners behind the robberies.
On October 1, Fort Drum officials conducting an unrelated drug search of Patterson’s barracks room found two of the pistols.
Kimmons reportedly denies participating in the thefts, but did allow the duo to store the stolen items at his home in exchange for three of the guns.
Patterson and Diggs were charged with conspiring to steal firearms from a licensed dealer, while Kimmons was charged with knowingly receiving stolen firearms.
All three men are being held without bail. They all face up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.
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