Worcester weapons theft suspect collared in New York, FBI says
By NBP Staff | November 19, 2015, 20:03 EDT
BOSTON – A man accused of child rape in May was named in an FBI affidavit Wednesday as a suspect in the theft of six M4 automatic rifles and 10 military pistols from a U.S. Army Reserve center in Worcester last weekend. Authorities apprehended the man, James W. Morales, hours later in New York.
The theft by the former Army reservist was not terrorism-related, the FBI said, according to the Associated Press.
Morales was in the reserve center on Nov. 12 to get copies of his discharge papers, according to the affidavit by Colgan Norman, an FBI agent in Boston, that was posted on the WBZ-TV website. The government announced the arrest of Morales Thursday. The suspect, who is 34 years old and lives in Cambridge, is set to appear in a New York federal court Friday, the AP said.
Norman said a man seen in video surveillance recordings waited outside the Army center for hours Saturday evening. The federal agent said Morales had worn a court-ordered electronic monitoring bracelet since being released by Middlesex Superior Court in May, where he appeared on charges of child rape and assault on a child under 14, but had removed it Monday morning. Norman said preliminary data from the bracelet monitors show it was outside the Worcester reserve center Saturday night for several hours and placed Morales inside weapons vault that same evening.
Examination of apparent blood stains found in the weapons vault determined the traces were a genetic match for Morales, Norman said. He said at least one of the stains was too high up on the vault’s wall to have come from someone standing inside.
A review of Morales’ publicly available Facebook page turned up a cell phone number that was confirmed as his by the Middlesex court’s probation department, Norman said. Cell service providers are able to provide precise location data for phones, and using this technique, the FBI was able to track down Morales on Long Island.
The FBI didn’t say whether the weapons stolen in Worcester had been recovered. Each gun is priced at more than $1,000. The M4 rifle is capable of firing three-round bursts with one squeeze of the trigger, making the model a machine gun under federal law, Norman said. The semi-automatic Sig Sauer M11 9 millimeter pistols come with 15-round magazines, according to the manufacturer’s website.