DENVER – Damion Shata Morgan, age 23, of Pueblo, was sentenced this week by U.S. District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson to serve 28 months for his role as a lookout during the robbery of RJC Firearms in Pueblo, Acting U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer and ATF Denver Division Acting Special Agent in Charge Ron Humphries announced. Two other defendants were prosecuted, pled guilty and were sentenced for the planning and implementation of the gun store robbery.
The other two defendants involved in the robbery were Benjamin Miguel Acosta, age 25, who was sentenced to serve 60 months in federal prison, followed by 3 years on supervised release for conspiracy to commit theft of a firearm from a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) and being a felon in possession of a firearm; and David Anthony Lizarraga, age 37, who was sentenced to 64 months in prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release also for conspiracy to commit theft of a firearm from a FFL as well as possession of two sawed of shotguns. Morgan pled guilty to the conspiracy to commit theft from a FFL as well.
According to court records, including the stipulated facts from the defendants’ changes of plea documents, on the evening of September 20, 2015, Acosta and Lizarraga, and a person unknown to law enforcement, cased RJC Firearms, which is a business licensed to and engaged in the sale of firearms imported or manufactured in other states, thus in interstate commerce. After casing the business, the three drove to Lizarraga’s residence, where they obtained bolt cutters, a sledge hammer, and a pry bar. They then returned to the area of the business, where they met and picked up Morgan. Morgan was then dropped off near the business to serve as a lookout. The defendants all knew and agreed to the plan to burglarize the business with the intent to steal the firearms inside.
Acosta, Lizarraga and the third unknown individual, went to the back of the business where they used the bolt cutters to get through the wire outer door, and the sledge hammer to gain access to the interior of the business. Once inside they smashed the glass on the cases and stole 12 firearms that were in the inventory of RJC Firearms. As they fled, they picked up Morgan and returned to Lizarraga’s residence, where they divided up the firearms amongst themselves. Morgan was paid for his part of the conspiracy with heroin. A search warrant was later obtained for Lizarraga’s residence. Officers during the search found the bolt cutters, sledge hammer and the pry bar, along with two sawed off shotguns.
“Stealing guns from gun stores is a very serious threat to the safety of Colorado communities,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer. “Do that, and we will make sure you spend a good piece of your life in federal prison.”
“The surge in gun store burglaries is a concerning trend—one that ATF takes very seriously. These stolen guns end up at future crime scenes, including murders, and pose a risk to innocent civilians and law enforcement alike,” said ATF Acting Special Agent in Charge Ron Humphries. “We are fully committed to investigating gun store burglaries with our local partners to arrest those responsible, recover the firearms and prevent future thefts.”
This case was investigated by the ATF and the Pueblo Police Department.