The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives announced the discovery less than 72 hours after two thieves entered a United Parcel Service facility in Memphis, loaded the guns into a U-Haul and drove away. Michael Knight, a bureau spokesman, confirmed investigators found the vehicle and the guns more than 500 miles away in Midlothian, a suburb about 20 miles southwest of Chicago.
Agents took an 18-year-old man into custody, while a second suspect, 24-year-old Roland Jackson, according to police. Investigators haven’t ruled out other the possibility of further suspects, so far.
Knight said its one of the single largest gun thefts the agency ever investigated. He warned the process of tracking down stolen guns through shipping manifests will be “very tedious” — more complicated than tracing firearms stolen from licensed dealers.
“We are concerned that the firearms will end up on the streets not only potentially in the Memphis area, but also across the country,” he said earlier this week. “The criminal element knows no geographical boundary.”
ATF Special Agent in Charge Marcus Watson said in a press release Monday, “ATF’s Crime Gun Intelligence will leverage investigative resources combined with the community partnerships to solve this violent criminal act.”
This year, the Department of Justice named Memphis as one of the cities participating in the Public Safety Partnership — a collaborative effort between state, local and federal law enforcement agencies to reduce escalating crime rates.
Both the ATF and Crime Stoppers offered reward for any information about the heist, though its unclear if investigators received any tips as a result.