A Biddeford man was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Portland for the theft of 22 firearms from a gun shop in Auburn in 2021.
Thomas Johnson, 40, was sentenced to 12 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release after being found guilty of theft from a federally licensed firearms dealer, possession of a stolen firearm, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and possession of cocaine base with intent to distribute.
According to court records, on October 20, 2021, Johnson visited J.T. Reid’s Gun Shop in Auburn for over an hour, asking store employees about multiple firearms and handling a semi-automatic assault rifle with a large-capacity magazine attached to it.
Johnson was prohibited from possessing firearms due to multiple prior felony convictions, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maine.
On October 24, 2021, just days after his visit to the gun shop, Johnson threw a rock through the glass window of J.T. Reid’s front door, unlawfully entered the premises and stole 22 firearms from the business before fleeing.
Four days later, on October 28, 2021, an undercover officer called a phone number associated with Johnson and arranged to buy a quantity of cocaine base from him.
Upon Johnson’s arrival to the agreed-upon location for the drug deal, investigators exited their vehicle and pursued Johnson, who fled on foot.
During the chase, Johnson discarded a loaded firearm that was later identified as one of the 22 stolen from J.T. Reid’s.
At the time of his arrest, he was found in possession of a quantity of cocaine base.
This case was investigated by the Auburn and Lewiston Police Departments, as well as the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).