Two men who exploited the chaos of Dallas’ Black Lives Matter protests to steal firearms have been charged with gun crimes, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox.
Demonte Kelly, 18, and Lejael Rudley, 19, were charged via criminal complaint with theft from a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) and possession of stolen firearms.
“Theft of firearms will always trigger swift law enforcement action,” said U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox. “We are thankful to the members of the public who stepped up to help law enforcement track down these men and their stolen guns. This prosecution sends a message: Federal law enforcement will not allow criminals to use the turmoil facing our city as cover for their own lawless ends.”
“Recovering stolen firearms is a priority for ATF and the community,” stated ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Dallas Division Jeffrey C. Boshek II. “My thanks to the agents, investigators and members of the public who worked swiftly to identify these men so quickly after the burglary.”
According to the complaint, unsealed today, a surveillance camera recorded three men exiting DFW Gun Range around 1:45 a.m. on Sunday, May 31, shortly after the theft of more than 40 firearms.
In the span of just 80 seconds, the trio allegedly pried open the side entrance of the facility, grabbed three rifles posted on the wall, and smashed glass cases to snatch several dozen handguns stored inside.
Following ATF’s release of the surveillance video, a tipster identified one of the men as Demonte Kelly, of Dallas.
Dallas police officers tracked Mr. Kelly to a hotel in southeast Dallas, where they observed him interacting with two men: Mr. Rudley and a third man, later identified as S.J. Mr. Kelly then drove off in a red Jeep with paper plates.
With ATF running point on surveillance, Dallas police conducted a traffic stop on the Jeep. Inside the vehicle, officers discovered one of the stolen firearms.
During a subsequent interview with ATF, Mr. Kelly identified himself in the surveillance video, admitted to burglarizing the gun range, and gave agents written consent to search his hotel room. He also admitted to selling one of the stolen firearms to an unknown individual. Inside his hotel room, agents recovered four additional stolen firearms, 76 rounds of assorted ammunition, and baggies of crack cocaine.
ATF also interviewed Mr. Rudley, who also admitted to burglarizing the gun range and gave agents written consent to search his hotel room, where agents recovered a sixth stolen firearm.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation of wrongdoing, not evidence. Mr. Kelly and Mr. Rudley are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
The defendants made their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge David L. Horan Friday. If convicted, they face up to 20 years in federal prison.
The third individual allegedly involved in the burglary, identified as S.J., remains at large. ATF and the U.S. Attorney’s Office urge the public to report any information they have on the whereabouts of S.J. or the stolen weapons: 888-ATF-TIPS, ATFTips@atf.gov, http://atf.gov/contact/atftips, @Reportitcom, or text ATFDAL to 63975. ATF has partnered with the National Shooting Sports Foundation to offer a $10,000 reward.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives and the Dallas Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gary Tromblay, Joe Magliolo, and Keith Robinson are prosecuting the case.