U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said of the case, "This case goes beyond a simple burglary. When 40 stolen firearms hit the streets, they could potentially be used in many more serious crimes, including assault and murder. Guns from Georgia continue to be found at crime scenes all over the country, and 40 fresh guns in the hands of criminals certainly could mean many more crime scenes. Now these defendants are going to federal prison, where there is no parole."
"Gun thieves play a deadly role in the chain of violence when firearms fall into the wrong hands. ATF places a major emphasis on solving these crimes," said Special Agent in Charge Gregory Gant of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. "When these burglaries occur, the public should expect nothing less than an aggressive investigative effort that leads to sending those responsible to prison, and results in the recovery of stolen firearms before they can be criminally misused."
Tanturri was sentenced to 11 years, three months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay more than $31,000 in restitution.
Lindsey Gravitt was sentenced to one year, eight months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay more than $31,000 in restitution.
Lonny Gravitt was sentenced to three years probation.
According to U.S. Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: On Nov. 8, 2008, about 3:34 a.m. a monitored alarm system at Bargain Barn, a federal firearms licensee at 3622 Camp Road, Jasper, alerted to a break-in. The surveillance video revealed that Tanturri, Lindsey Gravitt and an unidentified third individual entered the store wearing masks and immediately rushed to several gun counters, smashed the glass cases and took approximately 40 firearms. The investigation continues into the identity of the third individual involved in the burglary.
Lindsey Gravitt and Joe Tanturri pleaded guilty to the theft of 40 firearms from the Bargain Barn, and the receipt, possession, concealment, storage and disposal of the stolen firearms. Lonny Gravitt, Lindsey Gravitt's father, allowed his son to store and hide some of the weapons at Lonny's home in Rydal.
As part of the investigation, agents questioned Lonny Gravitt, who initially said there were no weapons on his property. With the assistance of Lindsey Gravitt, agents went back to the father's property, where Lonny admitted some of the weapons were being hidden. Fourteen of the stolen weapons have been recovered. In addition, when Lonny's home was searched, agents found an illegal sawed-off shotgun not stolen during the burglary. Lonny Gravitt pleaded guilty Feb. 1 to possession of that sawed-off shotgun.
ATF continues to seek the public's assistance in identifying the third accomplice who participated in the burglary and in recovering any of the remaining guns. Anyone with information is encouraged to call ATF's toll-free, 24-hour hotline at 1-888-ATF-TIPS (1-888-283-8477) and may remain anonymous.
This case was investigated by Special Agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorney Angela M. Jordan prosecuted the case.