Four Philadelphia men have been accused of stealing the world's largest mined ruby, which is valued at $2 million and carved in the shape of the Liberty Bell. Federal prosecutors claim the men were part of a theft ring that allegedly committed heists in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.
It remains to be seen whether authorities will bring federal charges against an Altoona college student accused of possessing a weapon of mass destruction. According to police, the 19-year-old Russian national was under investigation for allegedly growing marijuana, but when officers entered the young man's residence, they found what they believed to be a bomb and other materials used to make explosives.
The Armed Career Criminal Act of 1984 is a federal law that provides for a 15-year minimum sentence for individuals who are convicted of weapons crimes and who have previously been convicted of a violent crime or a "serious" drug offense at least three times. Life in prison is the maximum penalty provided for under the law.
Items that may be left behind by others in one's car can sometimes later cause problems for the driver. In one such example, a Pennsylvania man who was pulled over for speeding is now facing gun charges for a weapon found in a purse in his car. He explained to the police that the gun and the purse belonged to his wife.
An Allegheny County woman was arrested on March 11 and taken to jail on suspicion of weapons charges in connection with a shooting at a local bar. While the woman was not involved in the shooting, which ended in one person dead and another in critical condition, but her son was the alleged shooter. Authorities say that the woman was a straw buyer of some of the guns her son allegedly used in the shooting.
Federal prosecutors have dismissed felony charges against several former employees of the private security company once known as Blackwater over weapons given to the king of Jordan in 2005. Instead, two of the former company executives will plead guilty to misdemeanor weapons charges. The felony charges apparently became difficult to prosecute after the defendants presented evidence that they were acting on behalf of the CIA.
A Pittsburgh man who authorities once described as one of the top drug traffickers in Western Pennsylvania says he is a changed man since his release from prison after six-plus years. Federal prosecutors appear to agree. Despite recently charging the man with a weapons crime, the U.S. attorney prosecuting the case worked out a plea agreement in which the man was sentenced to four months in prison, with most of that being credited as time served.
No weapons charges will be filed against a western Pennsylvania man whose son was killed in a gun accident in December, the Mercer County District Attorney said on Jan. 16. The chief prosecutor concluded that the father did not knowingly violate state weapons laws when a handgun he was trying to sell went off unexpectedly, fatally wounding his 7-year-old son.
When there is a crime involving a gun in Pittsburgh, often police will investigate whether someone other than the suspect is the named owner of the gun. In those cases, the titular owner can face serious weapons charges, even if he or she had nothing to do with the crime.
Pittsburgh readers may be interested to know that the owner of a pistol that an 8-year-old boy stole and brought it to school will not be charged with a weapons crime, authorities in the state where the incident occurred said. Though school officials acknowledge that the gun was unloaded and the boy did not mean any harm, he apparently will be suspended for the rest of the school year.