Rockford man gets 15 years for possessing stolen guns

A federal court sentenced a Rockford man to 188 months in prison for his role in concealing and selling guns stolen from a private collection, the Justice Department announced this week.

Teovanni Cunningham, 31, pleaded guilty in May to three criminal counts that also include felony possession of a firearm. He admitted to conspiring with two other men to break into a house to steal almost two dozen guns.

According to his plea agreement, Cunningham plotted the crime with co-defendants Michael Schaffer and Michael Tapia in December 2012. They planned to break into a house in Rockton, Illinois, that contained a private collection of guns and ammo.

While the family attended a soccer game on Dec. 31, 2012, the men broke into the house and stole 21 guns — including five handguns, four shotguns and 12 rifles — and almost 500 rounds of ammo, the plea agreement says.

They held onto the guns until mid-January 2013, when they began selling them off. Cunningham gave four guns to Schaffer for organizing the burglary. Around that same time, Cunningham sold guns to another man, 28-year-old Darrell Reed, of Byron, Illinois. Months later, in August 2013, he sold Schaffer one of the stolen rifles — an FN SCAR 16S — for $1,000 and 475 rounds of .223 ammunition for $200.

Both Schaffer and Reed pleaded guilty on separate dates to their roles in possessing the stolen guns. A federal jury found Tapia guilty of his charges last month. They’re all still awaiting sentencing.

According to court documents, Cunningham’s criminal history is extensive and includes a number of convictions of theft, drug possession, mob action and resisting a peace officer, and several years prison time. However, his attorney asked for mercy from the court as Cunningham has tried to lead a straight and narrow path for the past couple years.

“He is extremely remorseful for his past conduct and has accepted responsibility for his actions. Teo suffers everyday knowing what this has done to his family. He has very worked hard over the last two years to provide for his family and make a difference in their lives,” said his attorney, John Richardson.

In a memo regarding the sentencing, he described Cunningham’s family life and maintaining a skilled position for the past two years.