The last of three soldiers charged with burglarizing two firearms dealers near their duty station of Fort Drum, N.Y., has been sentenced to two years in federal prison.
Devin Diggs, 21, who was sentenced Oct. 6, had previously pleaded guilty, as had his co-defendants, Rian Patterson, 23, and Tyrease Kimmons, 20, according to court records.
Patterson, who was sentenced Sept. 29, got 30 months. Kimmons was sentenced in March to 10 months. Each of the three men had faced up to 10 years in prison for their charges.
A license plate reader and an unrelated barracks inspection uncovered three gun store thieves.
As of at least February none of the three were still in the Army, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office statement.
Patterson and Diggs stole five guns, three rifles and two shotguns from Bowman’s Gun Shop in Gouvernuer, N.Y., at about 1:20 a.m. on Sept. 14, 2019. Security cameras captured video footage of two masked people with gloves breaking into the rear entrance to the shop, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office statement.
In the second incident, a little more than a week later, they stole five handguns from Graham’s Guns in De Kalb at about 1:10 a.m. Sept. 29. Again, video footage showed two masked persons, wearing gloves, breaking into the front door of the shop and taking the guns.
A witness told police he saw two people flee the store through neighboring yards and then heard what sounded like a vehicle start and leave the area.
Local police retrieved information from the New York license plate reader system, which collected images of a dark-colored sedan with New York plates. It was spotted on recordings traveling northbound on State Route 11 in the Gouverneur area at about 12:43 a.m.. The same vehicle was spotted by the system going southbound on the same route near De Kalb at about 1:25 a.m.
The vehicle was registered to Diggs.
A few days after the second burglary, at 5:20 a.m. Oct. 1, Sgt. Clinton Vaugh conducted a room inspection of the barracks, unrelated to the burglaries, according to court documents.
Vaugh was searching for contraband on orders from company commander Capt. Jeff Thondique due to “recent drug activity within the unit,” according to court documents.
During the search of multiple barracks rooms, Vaugh found two pistols in Patterson’s computer desk.
That same day, an ATF agent interviewed Patterson, who admitted to planning and committing the two burglaries, the court documents stated.
Patterson said he, Diggs and Kimmons planned the burglaries. Kimmons did Internet searches to find gun shops to target. Diggs then drove Patterson to the shops and the pair did the burglaries.
The pair stole the guns and then took them to Kimmons' home. Patterson kept the Charles Daley Model 301 .410 gauge shotgun from the first burglary, along with two of the pistols from the second theft, and brought them back to the barracks.
Diggs and Kimmons kept the remaining firearms, Patterson said.
Military police questioned Diggs, who told them the same thing, adding that he had taken one of the rifles to his barracks room.
Police interviewed Kimmons, who said he’d talked with Diggs and Patterson about the burglaries but didn’t help plan them.
Kimmons said Diggs and Patterson came to his Evans Mills, New York, residence in the early morning hours of Sept. 14, 2019, and he let them store the firearms and some ammunition at his home, which is also a crime.
They returned to his home early on Sept. 29, he said, and the pair gave him a pistol in return for storing the weapons, according to court documents.
During the questioning, Kimmons told investigators the items were still at his home.
They then searched his home and he showed them a black, military-style duffel bag with “DIGGS” on the outside. Diggs had brought the bag to his house Sept. 29, but Kimmons denied that he knew what the bag contained, he said.