Feds indict three previously charged for burgling Worcester armory

The three individuals previously charged with stealing handguns and machine guns from an Army Reserve Center in Worcester, Massachusetts, were indicted by a federal grand jury, the Justice Department said Jan. 13.

James W. Morales, 34, of Cambridge, was indicted for being a felon in possession of firearms, possession of a machine gun, possession of stolen weapons, theft of government property, and conspiracy to possess stolen weapons.

Tyrone James, 28, and Ashley Bigsbee, 26, both of Dorchester, were indicted for possession of stolen weapons, conspiracy to possess stolen weapons, and making false statements to federal agents. James was also indicted on being a felon in possession of firearms.

According to court documents, Morales broke into the weapons vault at the reserve center on Nov. 14, 2015, and stole six M4 rifles and 10 Sig Sauer M11 pistols. Since the rifles are capable of firing a three-round burst, under federal law, they are considered machine guns.

At the time of the robbery, Morales was wearing a state court mandated GPS device as a condition of his release on charges, including child rape, which are currently pending in Middlesex Superior Court.

According to cout documents, investigators were able to trace the GPS device Morales was allegedly wearing to the scene of the robbery as well as his DNA at the scene. Four days later, on Nov. 18, Morales was arrested in New York and found in possession of four of the stolen M4s and two M11s.

As investigators looked deeper into the crime, they began to focus on events that happened at the house where the suspects often stayed.

The Justice Department said electronic evidence, including evidence recovered from mobile phones belonging to James and Bigsbee, show that they had possessed the stolen weapons and negotiated to sell them. James and Bigsbee were both interviewed by federal agents and allegedly made false statements about their involvement with the stolen firearms.

If convicted of the gun charges, each count carries up to 10 years in prison, three years probation and a fine up to $250,000. The charge of lying to federal officers carries up to five years in prison, three years probation and a fine up to $250,000.

To date, all six of stolen the M-4 machine guns have been recovered and four of the 10 M-11 handguns have been recovered.