More military weapons from Massachusetts armory theft recovered – FBI

More military weapons from Massachusetts armory theft recovered – FBI
The FBI said it has recovered nine of the 16 weapons stolen during a robbery from a Worcester, Massachusetts armory. Last week, authorities arrested a man using DNA analysis and surveillance footage.

As of right now, five of the six M-4 assault rifles and four of the ten M-11 pistols (Sig Sauer, 9MM) are back in the hands of law enforcement,” an FBI spokeswoman said in a statement, according to CBS Boston.

Sixteen military weapons were stolen from the Lincoln Stoddard Army Reserve Center in Worcester, Massachusetts last weekend. Former Army reservist James Walker Morales, 34, was arrested last Wednesday and charged in connection to the theft. The cache included 10 9mm handguns and six assault rifles.

Morales, who is also facing child rape charges from a previous arrest, was charged with unlawful possession of a machine gun, unlawful possession of stolen firearms and theft of government property. He has ties to the Bronx, but will be face federal charges in Worcester.

Over the weekend, police in New York said a 51-year-old homeless man stumbled upon three of the missing guns in a duffel bag near Yankee Stadium in the Bronx and called 911.

"He did the right thing by reporting it and turning it over," Officer Arlene Muniz, spokeswoman for the NYPD, told the Worcester Telegram and Gazette.

There are conflicting reports about which guns were recovered in New York and the police department could not confirm the specific weapons.

“The FBI is working aggressively, along with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners across the region, to recover the remaining seven weapons,” the spokeswoman said.

Officials have not yet said how the other six weapons were found.

Morales was trained as a medical logistics specialist and served in the Army Reserve from April 2010 until he was discharged in November 2013.

Authorities allege that he broke into the US Army Reserve Center on November 14 and used a power saw to break into the vault to steal the weapons. The FBI said surveillance cameras near the Army Reserve facility recorded the theft.

Other evidence leading to the suspect’s speedy arrest came from blood stains found at the scene that helped identify Morales as the thief, according to local WPRI. Blood was found on the wall of the exterior of the weapons vault, on a pillar supporting the ceiling of the drill room, and inside the vault. DNA from the blood stains was sent to an FBI lab for testing. It was found to match Morales’ DNA, which was in a national database due to a criminal conviction, according to the FBI.

Morales was also identified due to an electronic monitoring bracelet he was wearing during the break-in, which was a condition of his bail for a child rape case. Morales had already been charged with child rape and indecent assault on a child under 14 in May. The bracelet placed Morales “directly inside” the facility during the break-in, according to the FBI.