Ex-WVa security guard admits firearms theft

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (AP) — A former security guard at a federal facility in West Virginia has admitted stealing firearms and ammunition.

U.S. Attorney Bill Powell says in a news release 52-year-old Christopher Lee Yates of Martinsburg pleaded guilty in federal court to one count each of possession of a stolen firearm and theft of government property.

The statement says Yates admitted taking firearms, parts and ammunition valued at more than $1,000 from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ disposal facility in Martinsburg.

Yates faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count at his sentencing.

The theft prompted Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin last month to call for an investigation into the facility and how it disposes of firearms. Johnson is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.