Joey Anthony Maillet

Joey Anthony Maillet

Man pleads guilty to smash-and-grab at Sequim gun store

DNA evidence linked him to the 26 stolen handguns. He also stole 13 rifles from an armory in Bow.

By Paul Gottlieb / Peninsula Daily News

SEATTLE — A man linked by DNA evidence to the bold, smash-and-grab burglary of FREDS Guns in Sequim last year pleaded guilty to firearms theft charges Tuesday in federal district court in Seattle.

Joey Anthony Maillet, 39, admitted he stole 26 handguns from FREDS Guns on U.S. Highway 101 west of Sequim on April 13 and absconded with 13 rifles and ammunition from All American Armory in Bow on May 3.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of theft of firearms from a federal firearms licensee.

Both thefts were accomplished after Maillet rammed vehicles into the stores.

Maillet faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced May 8 by U.S. District Court Judge Richard A. Jones.

Four of the stolen firearms were recovered, found in British Columbia either at crime scenes or in the possession of criminal suspects, U.S. Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Emily Langlie said in press release.

The plea agreement describes a string of crimes and missteps that led to Maillet’s arrest.

Maillet said he stole a backhoe from Leitz Farm Supply’s hay barn near FREDS Guns before smashing through the store at about 11:30 p.m. April 13, according to the plea agreement.

FREDS Guns released a surveillance video of the burglary that shows a man ramming through the wall and front door of the store.

Wearing a hoodie that obscures his face, a man identified later as Maillet is seen running through the store, stealing the guns from one of two cases he broke before backing up the front loader toward U.S. Highway 101.

The handguns included Glocks, Berettas and Sig Sauers, according to the agreement.

Maillet attempted to jump over one of the cases, instead falling through, court documents said.

“He attempted to hurdle a glass display case containing a number of handguns, but crashed through the top, cutting himself,” according to the agreement.

He left droplets of blood that linked his DNA to the burglary, according to the plea agreement.

He also left fingerprints from a light fixture in the case that further linked him to the crime.

The loader was later found abandoned on Atterberry Road.

Maillet also admits to stealing a pickup truck loaded with potatoes May 3 from Samish Bay Cheese in Bow.

Maillet drove the truck about a tenth of a mile to All American Armory at about 2 a.m. that morning, backing it into the front door and crashing through the building, according to the agreement.

“The store’s front door along with the door frame and dry wall had been destroyed,” according to the federal complaint.

Maillet grabbed boxes of ammunition and the rifles, including an AR-15 and a 12-gauge shotgun from the store.

He loaded them into a garbage can he had stolen from the post office next door and drove away in the truck, according to the agreement.

About an hour later, he stole a trolling motor and batteries from a boat in Ferndale. He, too, had a surveillance camera.

The video “captured good footage of Defendant, including his face,” according to the agreement.

Later, shown a photo from the video, Maillet admitted stealing the motor and batteries.

He left the cheese truck at Birch Bay State Park near Blaine, taking the firearms and ammunition — but not the trash can, motor and batteries.

On May 9, state Crime Lab tests linked DNA from blood found at FREDS Guns and fingerprints from the store to Maillet, according to the agreement.

The next day, Maillet was riding a bicycle in Ferndale when he was arrested by a Ferndale police officer on an outstanding warrant from Everett for burglary.

The officer had recognized Maillet from the boat owner’s surveillance footage.

The officer found a box of ammunition and a small amount of suspected methamphetamine during a search of Maillet, according to the complaint.

A buccal swab obtained from Maillet while he was incarcerated in the Snohomish County jail linked him to the FREDS Guns crime scene.

A Clallam County search warrant for the backpack revealed it contained price tags for two rifles and a box of ammunition with a price tag, all items consistent with firearms and ammunition stolen from All American Armory.

Maillet’s criminal record includes arrests in Washington, Massachusetts, Montana, California, Florida, Missouri, Louisiana and New Hampshire.

Maillet, who has dual citizenship in Canada and the U.S., was cited twice in 2007 for illegally crossing the Canada-U.S. border in Washington and Maine.

The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated the FREDS Guns burglary.

This story originally appeared in the Peninsula Daily News, a sister publication to The Herald

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