A 19-year-old Illinois parolee who helped raid a store of dozens of assault-style rifles and other firearms planned to sell the cache to protesters in Missouri's Ferguson and "go to war just for the hell of it," federal authorities allege in charging him with four felonies.
Dakota Moss of Centralia, about 60 miles east of St. Louis, remained jailed Friday, two days after being charged with stealing firearms from a federal firearms licensee, carrying a firearm during a violent crime, possessing a stolen firearm and being a felon with a firearm.
All but four of the 39 firearms, including semi-automatic handguns and AR-15 rifles, stolen during the heist early Nov. 29 of the Buchheit farm-and-home supply store in Centralia had been recovered as of Friday, prosecutors said. At least 1,000 rounds of ammunition also were taken during the burglary, authorities said.
The break-in came five days after sometimes-violent protests resurfaced in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson after a grand jury decided not to indict white police officer Darren Wilson in the August shooting death of black, unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown.
There have been no known reports of protesters brandishing weapons at police during the latest Ferguson unrest. But Moss considered selling them guns he stole with a 17-year-old accomplice after they rammed a stolen pickup truck through Buchheit's security gate and broke into the store, Special Agent Adam Ulery of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives alleges in an affidavit filed with the criminal complaint against Moss.
Moss and the other suspect were armed during the burglary and intended to shoot police or anyone else who interrupted the break-in, Ulery wrote.
After Moss and the alleged accomplice were arrested separately the next day, Moss said in a videotaped statement that "they were going to go to war just for the hell of it, but that the plan did not materialize," Ulery wrote.
Online court records do not show whether Moss has an attorney. The status of charges involving the 17-year-old suspect was not immediately clear Friday.
Crediting investigators with swiftly cracking "this incredibly dangerous crime before lives were lost," Stephen Wigginton — southern Illinois' U.S. attorney — called firearms trafficking "always a very serious crime."
"But it is even worse that these two considered profiteering from the lawlessness in Ferguson by planning to sell arms to rioters and looters," Wigginton said.