A former Army reservist facing child rape charges is accused of stealing 16 guns from the Lincoln Stoddard Army Reserve Center in Worcester, Massachusetts, on Saturday.
James Morales, 34, was arrested Wednesday night in New York, the U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts says. Morales was charged with unlawful possession of a machine gun, two counts of possession of stolen firearms and theft of government property, according to court documents.
Morales was charged with child rape and indecent assault on a child under 14 in May. Those charges are still pending. Morales, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, went to the base on November 12 to obtain his discharge papers, the FBI says.
The November 14 theft caused an increased level of concern because it occurred a day after the Paris terror attacks. But the FBI says the theft was not linked to terrorism.
Authorities have not yet said if the weapons were recovered.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. He Is Accused of Cutting Through the Roof of the Base’s Armory to Steal the Guns
James Morales is accused of cutting through the roof of a gun vault in the drill room of the Worcester Army Reserve facility to steal six M-4 rifles and 10 Sig Sauer M11 9mm pistols, according to the criminal complaint filed by FBI Special Agent Colgan Norman.
The theft occurred on November 14 at about 9 p.m., and was discovered the next day at about 7:30 a.m., the FBI says.
Read the criminal complaint below:
Norman said the drill room where the weapons vault is located is a “large, hanger like structure. The weapons vault, fairly described as being approximately the size of a shipping container, is located with in the drill room. The perpetrator gained access to the building in which the weapons vault is kept by breaking a window of a kitchen located in proximity of the drill room.”
Morales is accused of climbing on top of the vault and using a power saw and prya bar to cut a hole through several layers of metal and wood.
2. The Theft Was Caught on Surveillance Video
The FBI says surveillance cameras near the Army Reserve facility recorded the theft.
According to court documents, the video shows a vehicle, possibly a dark-colored hatchback, parked near the facility at 6:43 p.m. At about 7:43 p.m., a man exits the vehicle with duffle bags and walks toward the Army facility. At 7:48 p.m., the man returns to the vehicle without the bags.
The video then shows the same man walking toward the facility with more duffle bags at about 7:55 p.m. The man does not return until 10:46 p.m., when he goes back to the car without bags. At 10:47 p.m., he returns to the building.
At 11:59 p.m., the man returns to the car again, this time carrying at least one duffle bag. He goes back into the building and returns with two bags. After going back into the building, he is seen bringing three or four duffle bags back to the car, the FBI says.
The vehicle leaves the area at about 12:08 a.m.
3. Morales Left Behind Blood in the Weapons Vault, the FBI Says
The FBI says blood stains at the scene helped agents identify Morales as a suspect.
According to court documents, blood was found on the wall of the exterior of the weapons vault. A second stain was found on a pillar supporting the ceiling of the drill room, located adjacent to the vault. Two other stains were found inside the vault under the hole that had been drilled in the ceiling. DNA taken from the stains was sent to the FBI laboratory for testing, and matched Morales’ DNA, which was in national databases because of his criminal conviction, the FBI says.
Morales was also identified because of an electronic monitoring bracelet he was wearing, according to court documents. Morales appeared in court on May 20, 2015, in the child rape case, and was released on conditions including electronic monitoring. The FBI says the bracelet showed he was in the area of the Worcester facility from 6:40 p.m. until 12:08 a.m. on November 14.
A warrant was issued for Morales on November 16 after he cut off the monitoring bracelet, according to court documents.
4. Morales Joined the Army Reserve in 2007
Morales joined the U.S. Army Reserve in September 2008, according to his LinkedIn profile.
He was a medical logistics specialist, “primarily responsible for receiving, storing, recording and issuing Army medical supplies.”
Originally from the Bronx, New York, Morales lived in Cambridge and also worked as a maintenance repair technician at the Cambridge Housing Authority. He studied biomedical/medical engineering at Bunker Hill Community College.
5. He Was Convicted of Aggravated Assault & Battery in 2013
Morales was convicted of aggravated assault and battery in 2013 after an incident in Somerville, Massachusetts, the FBI says. Details of that case were not immediately available.
He was sentenced in Cambridge District Court to one year of incarceration, but the sentence was suspended and he did not serve any time in jail.
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