Man Who Helped Steal, Re-Sell 15 Guns Gets 5 to 10 Years
A man who helped steal 15 guns from a Bensalem residence – one of which was later used in a Philadelphia shooting – was sentenced Thursday in Bucks County Common Pleas Court to serve five to 10 years in prison.
Jesse Michael Conklin, 27, admitted helping to burglarize the mobile home of a widow whose husband had been an avid gun collector. He pleaded guilty to several felonies including burglary, illegal firearms possession and receiving stolen property.
Conklin, who had no fixed address at the time, told police that he accompanied two other men to the widow’s residence in the Top of the Ridge mobile home park on Gibson Road on Dec. 28, 2015. The woman was not home, and Conklin said he acted as a lookout while the other men entered the residence.
In the living room lay an array of firearms that the woman had been preparing to sell. Fifteen guns were stolen, some worth more than $1,000, along with an iPod and a gold necklace and earrings.
Bensalem detectives found the jewelry two days later at a Bristol pawn shop, where Conklin had sold them for $30.
Meanwhile, the burglars took the stolen guns to Philadelphia, where they sold the weapons to various buyers on the street for $100 each.
Conklin told police he used the money he received to buy drugs. His alleged accomplices have not been arrested and charged.
Only one of the guns, a Sig Sauer .380 caliber handgun, was found. Philadelphia police recovered it while investigating a shooting last June in which one person was wounded. That case remains under investigation.
Conklin, who has an extensive record including drug offenses, burglaries and other property crimes, cooperated fully with police, defense attorney Robert Mancini said in arguing for leniency.
Conklin attributed his crimes to a longtime addiction to heroin and methamphetamine, along with anger stemming from a difficult upbringing.
“I’m a father of two kids,” he told Judge Wallace H. Bateman Jr. “I need to grow up. I need to take responsibility and do the right thing. I need to not be so hateful toward my past.”
Bateman said he was troubled most by the fact that the stolen firearms were sold to “the criminal element on the street,” making it likely they would be used to commit other crimes.
“You didn’t sell them to someone who would not use them criminally,” Bateman said. “That’s the problem in this case.”
Bateman sentenced Conklin to serve five to 10 years for burglary, a concurrent two to four years for a parole violation, and 10 years of concurrent probation for illegally possessing firearms.
The case was investigated by Bensalem Township Police Detectives Gregory Jackson and Lawrence Leith, and prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Alan J. Garabedian.
Contact: Alan J. Garabedian, 215.348.6296, firstname.lastname@example.org
Approved for release by Jennifer M. Schorn, Chief of Trials.