Springfield, Mo. -- (1/26/2018) Five Texas men have been indicted by a federal grand jury for stealing 650 firearms from United Parcel Service trailers in Springfield en route to Bass Pro Shops.
Frank McChriston, 33, of Ponder, Texas, Keith Lowe, 28, of Dallas, Texas, Quinton Haywood, 26, of Glenn Heights, Texas and Eric White, 26, and Derrick White, 32, both of Texas, were charged in a two-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Springfield on Wednesday. The federal indictment replaces a criminal complaint that was filed under seal on December 29, 2017. The five co-defendants were arrested in Texas, where they remain in federal custody pending transportation to the Western District of Missouri.
The indictment charges each of the five defendants in one count of aiding and abetting one another to steal firearms being shipped across state lines, from Beretta USA in Maryland to the state of Missouri. The indictment also charges each of the five defendants in one count of aiding and abetting one another to possess stolen firearms.
According to an affidavit filed in support of the original federal criminal complaint, Derrick and Eric White, McChriston, Lowe and Haywood stole 650 firearms, along with other cargo, from UPS trailers in Springfield in October 2017.
The firearms were in the process of being shipped from Beretta Firearms in Maryland to Bass Pro Shops in Springfield. The trailers in which the firearms were shipped had been parked in the UPS freight lot in a configuration to prevent access to the trailer doors, by being parked back-to-back, with the roll-up doors facing each other. The trailers were then blocked by longer trailers, which should have acted as a preventative measure from someone backing a truck-tractor to the trailer and pulling it forward.
Sometime between noon on October 28, 2017, and 8:30 a.m. on October 29, 2017, thieves hot-wired two truck-tractors and used them to push and pull various trailers around the lot, allowing the thieves access to the trailer doors. Thieves stole 600 Beretta .380-caliber handguns and 54 Beretta12-gauge shotguns, as well as an entire pallet of Justin brand boots, numerous power tools and 12 cases of soda. UPS employees discovered the theft on October 29, 2017, and notified law enforcement.
The next day, Best Way Moving & Storage in Springfield discovered that a truck had been stolen sometime after noon on October 28, 2017. On November 8, 2017, the stolen truck was found in Seagoville, Texas, which is in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
According to the affidavit, cell phone tower records indicated that the cell phones of Derrick White, Eric White, McChriston, Lowe and Haywood all were in the vicinity of the UPS freight facility in Springfield at or near the time of the theft. Investigators determined that all five cell phones left the Dallas metroplex on October 27, 2017, arrived in Springfield on October 28, 2017, and returned to the Dallas metroplex on October 29, 2017. Haywood’s phone was also in the area where the stolen truck from Best Way Moving was recovered in Seagoville.
Eric and Derrick White were located at Redneck Heaven Restaurant & Bar in Arlington, Texas, on November 19, 2017, and arrested on outstanding warrants from an unrelated case. A Beretta .380-caliber handgun was found in Derrick White’s car as it was being towed; investigators confirmed the firearm had been stolen from the shipment of firearms in the Springfield UPS freight facility. Additional items consistent with those stolen in the UPS theft were located in Derrick White’s vehicle, including a Milwaukee M18 2 Toll Combo Kit, still in the box, and two SOG folding knives, still in the box.
A loaded Taurus 9mm pistol was found in Eric White’s car. Investigators also recovered two sets of bolt cutters and two key rings containing several keys from Eric White’s car. The keys were the type commonly used for tractor trailer trucks and fork lifts, and circular keys common for storage units and vending machines.