The one-time manager of a Hart County pawn shop who authorities say is responsible for the theft of hundreds of firearms from the business could receive a sentence of almost seven years in prison if a judge follows a recommendation from federal prosecutors.
Brandon Wayne Parker, 41, of Horse Cave, is set to appear Thursday in U.S. District Court for a sentencing hearing in his criminal case.
Parker pleaded guilty to four counts of theft of firearms from a federal firearms licensee, two counts of possession of stolen firearms, two counts of entering false information on ATF forms and two counts of aggravated identity theft.
Federal prosecutors said Parker, who managed Master Pawn of Horse Cave, is responsible for the theft of 335 firearms from the business from 2016 to 2018.
Documents filed in the criminal case said Parker took multiple handguns and rifles from the business and sold them off the books to at least 11 people who were not subject to the requisite background checks associated with legitimate firearm sales.
Then, to hide the thefts and the sales to the true buyers, Parker filled out paperwork to make it appear as though customers had come to the pawn shop and bought the firearms in an aboveboard fashion, with Parker using the identities of customers on those forms without their knowledge, according to court records.
Parker reached a plea agreement with prosecutors that dismissed an additional 22 counts in an indictment against him and recommended that he spend 82 months in prison and pay $100,637.39 in restitution.
A sentencing memorandum filed Friday by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua Judd gives insight into the ripple effect of the thefts, featuring evidence that firearms reported stolen from Master Pawn were found at crime scenes in four states.
“Firearms illegally disposed of by Parker have been recovered by police in a variety of states and associated with a variety of criminal offenses such as drug trafficking,” Judd said in the filing.
Attached to Judd’s memorandum are police reports detailing incidents in which police recovered firearms that had been reported stolen from the pawn shop.
The incidents include:
- a traffic stop in Kansas in 2019 that led to the arrest of the driver on suspicion of trafficking marijuana and the recovery of a .40-caliber handgun.
- the execution of a search warrant in 2019 by the Nashville Metro Police Department Gang Unit that led to the recovery of narcotics and a stolen AR .556 caliber rifle.
- the seizure of methamphetamine and weapons from a Metcalfe County home by police acting on a complaint about drug activity. Law enforcement seized 17 firearms from the home, one of which was found to have come from the pawn shop.
- a 2020 traffic stop by the Glasgow Police Department that led to the arrest of three people on drug charges and other offenses. Police seized two firearms, including a pistol that had been stolen from Master Pawn.
- a 2019 traffic stop in North Carolina that resulted in the arrest of a man on charges of possessing marijuana and a stolen firearm. The pistol was found to have been taken from the pawn shop.
The thefts were discovered when the owner of the pawn shop conducted an inventory and discovered a number of firearms were missing, court filings said.
Parker conducted an inventory and reported that all the firearms were accounted for except for three of them, court records show.
The owner of Master Pawn also believed that jewelry was missing from a safe in the business and suspected Parker of stealing it.
Parker was prosecuted in Hart Circuit Court as a result, pleading guilty to a charge of theft by unlawful taking and being placed on probation, court records show.
“There is clear evidence that some of the guns Parker stole were used by criminals,” Judd said in the filing. “It is the illegal use of those firearms in criminal activity such as narcotics trafficking and possibly other violent crimes that should be deterred. Parker’s large-scale theft and trafficking of off-the-books firearms deserves a sentence that will deter ... employees like Parker from committing this type of criminal activity.”