Men face federal charges in gun shop burglary

By Dal Cannady - bio | email

STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) - Wayne Evans left federal court in Statesboro the same way he arrived, in a jail jumpsuit and under heavy security. Federal agents said he and Jordy Melvin are the people in a security camera video the night someone stole nearly 30 handguns from Kemps Pharmacy in Claxton.

Those agents, along with investigators from GBI, Claxton police, and the Evans County Sheriff's Office uncovered tips that connected the two and a juvenile to the case. Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives feel one crime like this can lead to dozens because the guns go to criminals on the black market.

"It's the first step in a series of crimes and violent crimes," said ATF Special Agent Richard Coes. "Often these guns end up in the hands of the worst of the worst and those are your drug dealers, gang bangers, juveniles."

Coes said Melvin was arrested in Claxton and appeared in court last month. But investigators had to find Evans in New York and his extradition had been delayed by severe weather.

Agents said they've recovered most of the guns in a trail from Evans County to Evans' hometown of New York.

Agent Coes noted two of the guns tied to Evans and Melvin were used in drug sales and an armed robbery.

Back in Claxton, store owner Harold Kemp was relieved to know the men and the guns are off the street.

"It crossed my mind as soon as it happened, it wouldn't surprise me if some of them wound up in New York. Generally, that's where they head," Kemp said.

But he was bothered Tuesday that two of the guns had been used in crimes.

"It's disturbing to think somebody steals guns and somebody gets hurt from them when they aren't intended for that," he added.

Kemp said they've since beefed up what they thought was a "good" security system. While the men await trial, Kemp said, if the two adults are convicted, they should get the toughest penalties possible. If convicted, Melvin faces a maximum penalty of 10 years' imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. Due to his previous criminal history, Evans faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.

The juvenile charged in the case remains in a youth detention center. Evans and Melvin await their next court hearing in jail.

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