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California Man Gets Five Years for Stealing Police Guns

February 11, 2010  | 

A San Pablo, Calif., man described as being obsessed with "tools of warfare" has been sentenced to more than five years in federal prison for stealing assault rifles and shotguns belonging to the Contra Costa County sheriff's office and the California Highway Patrol.

Daniel William Vess, 21, pleaded guilty Tuesday to possession of a stolen firearm. At a hearing in Oakland, U.S. District Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong sentenced him to five years and three months in prison.

On three occasions in 2008 and 2009, prosecutors said, Vess cut through fences and broke into police cruisers to steal a total of four AR-15 semiautomatic rifles, two shotguns and equipment belonging to the sheriff's office and CHP.

Five of the stolen weapons were recovered. Vess had sold most of the guns, and in each instance the buyer had resold the weapon, prosecutors said.

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