Three Peoria Men Accused In Connection With Theft Of Nearly 100 Guns

A federal complaint unsealed in federal court in Peoria alleged two Peoria men stole nearly 100 guns from licensed dealers in Monmouth and Galesburg.

Keith Winters, 28, and Miray Smith, 28, are each charged with conspiring and stealing guns from a federal firearms licensee. Winters also faces two additional counts of possession of firearms by a felon. Additionally, Jeremy Howard, 39, of Peoria, along with Winters and Smith, is accused of possession of stolen guns.

Howard was arrested Friday while Winters and Smith remain at large.

The complaint and affidavit were unsealed during Howard’s court appearance Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Hawley. Howard was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service and a detention hearing is scheduled for May 24.

As alleged in the complaint, Winters, Smith and another unnamed individual drove a stolen truck March 21 from Peoria to The Tac Shack, 1100 E. Jackson Ave. in Monmouth. A passenger vehicle accompanied the truck to serve as a lookout. When they arrived, Winters and Smith allegedly threw a brick through a window and used a metal pipe to break the glass and make entry. After taking 39 guns from the store, the men drove back to Peoria and allegedly divided up the stolen guns.

The complaint also alleged that on March 29, Winters, Smith and another individual allegedly drove a stolen truck from Peoria to Farm King, 3000 W. Main St. in Galesburg, where the men used wire cutters to enter a fenced area, threw a brick through a window and used a metal pipe to gain entry. During the burglary, another individual who had accompanied the men in a separate vehicle, acted as a lookout for law enforcement. After taking 59 guns from Farm King, the men drove back to Peoria and allegedly divided up the stolen guns.

If convicted for the offenses of stealing from a federal firearms licensee, possession of stolen firearms, and felon in possession of a firearm, the maximum penalty for each count is up to 10 years in prison. The maximum penalty for conspiracy to steal and possess firearms from a federal firearms licensee is five years in prison.

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