A 34-year-old male suspect has been arrested on federal charges alleging he and two other men burglarized self-storage units, stole dozens of firearms and sold some of the guns to convicted felons.
The thefts allegedly occurred from December 2018 through September 2019 at locations throughout Los Angeles County, including in West Los Angeles and Culver City.
Rick Eric Herst was taken into federal custody on March 23 by special agents with the FBI and deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Herst was arrested pursuant to an eight-count indictment that was unsealed at his arraignment on March 23 in United States District Court. He pleaded not guilty and the next court hearing was scheduled on May 19.
Herst is named in the indictment with Jeffrey James LaFraniere, 37, and Alan Elperin, 29, both of whom were arrested in June in connection with separate cases and remain in federal custody. All three defendants are charged with one count of conspiracy, one count of dealing firearms without a license and two counts of selling stolen firearms. LaFraniere and Herst also face charges of selling firearms to convicted felons and being felons in possession of firearms.
The indictment alleges that LaFraniere, Herst and Elperin burglarized multiple self-storage units in West Los Angeles, Culver City, Glendale, Valencia and other cities, where they stole 47 firearms and other valuables. The men allegedly offered the stolen firearms for sale to customers either in person or through text messages. LaFraniere and Herst allegedly sold the firearms to buyers who they knew were convicted felons, according to the indictment.
LaFraniere and Herst face 60 years in federal prison, and Elperin faces 30 years in federal prison.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.