Man who stole 89 guns gets 4 decades in prison

Kent County
Charles Skipp

A mug shot of Charles Skipp from the Kent County Correctional Facility. (Oct. 10, 2019)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A man who stole dozens of guns from a Cedar Springs store nearly three years ago and then threatened witnesses will spend 42 years in a federal prison.

U.S. District Court Judge Janet Neff called 40-year-old Charles Skipp a “one-man crime spree” as she handed down his sentence, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Grand Rapids said in a Tuesday release.

The release said Skipp, who was indicted in October, pleaded guilty in February to 10 federal felonies:

  • Being a felon in possession of firearms,
  • Stealing firearms from a licensed firearm dealer,
  • Retaliating against a witness,
  • Discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence,
  • Knowing transfer of firearms for use in a crime of violence,
  • Aiding and abetting retaliating against an informant,
  • Aiding and abetting arson in the commission of a federal felony,
  • Attempted possession with intent to distribute heroin,
  • Discharging a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime,
  • Knowing transfer of a firearm for use in a drug trafficking crime.

The charges are linked to the break-in at the Family Farm and Home in Cedar Springs in November 2017. According to court documents, thieves sawed their way through a loading dock door and then into display cases, taking every gun they could get their hands on — 89 of them.

  • cedar springs family farm and home gun theft
  • cedar springs family farm and home gun theft

Many of those guns have never been recovered.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office also says after the break-in, in an attempt to keep from getting caught, Skipp shot at the witnesses’ home and then set it on fire.

He also used one of the stolen guns to shoot a drug dealer during a robbery, authorities say.

“The 42-year sentence sends an unmistakable message to anyone else who might embark on a way of life in which one dangerous crime begets another and so on: Your spree will end with you in prison for decades; so don’t even start,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge said in a statement.

Before the Cedar Springs break-in, Skipp already has a criminal history that included weapons, assaulted and armed robbery convictions.

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