Two Peoria men charged with stealing nearly 100 guns in Monmouth, Galesburg

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PEORIA, Ill. – Two Peoria men were charged with stealing nearly 100 guns from two west central Illinois federal firearms licensees.

A federal criminal complaint, unsealed on Friday said Keith L. Winters, 28, and Miray A. Smith, 19, were each charged with conspiring and stealing guns from a federal firearms licensee. A third man, Jeremy L. Howard, 39, is also charged, with Winters and Smith, with two counts of possession of stolen guns. Winters faces two additional counts of possession of firearms by a felon. 

As of Saturday night, the Peoria Police Department arrested Winters. Smith is still at large. 

The complaint charged them with stealing guns from The Tac Shack in Monmouth and Farm King in Galesburg, in March 2019. 

“Too frequently we see the deadly consequences of stolen guns in our communities,” stated U.S. Attorney John Milhiser. “We will continue to work with our federal, state, and local partners to get guns out of the hands of the wrong people and aggressively prosecute those who put them there.” 

Howard was arrested Friday and the complaint and affidavit were unsealed at his court appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan E. Hawley in Peoria. Howard was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service and a detention hearing was scheduled for May 24.

As alleged in the complaint affidavit, on March 21, 2019, Winters, Smith and another unnamed individual drove a stolen truck from Peoria to The Tac Shack. Another passenger in the vehicle accompanied to serve as a lookout. When they arrived at The Tac Shack, Winters and Smith allegedly threw a brick through a window and used a metal pole 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.

On March 29, 2019, Winters, Smith and another individual allegedly drove a stolen truck from Peoria to Farm King, where the men used wire cutters to enter a fenced area, then threw a brick through a window and used a metal pole to make 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. 

The charges are the result of investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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