WESTLAND, Mich. – The fifth and sixth men linked to the thefts of at least 76 guns in Westland and Dearborn Heights were arrested after posting pictures with some of the weapons publicly on social media, police said.
Tivon Jaquess Jr. and Keijuan Watkins are the latest to be accused in connection with the thefts. They were named in two separate criminal complaints filed Wednesday (Sept. 21).
Four others have previously been named in the case. Brandon Carter and Damond “Turk” Jordan Jr. were named in criminal complaints that were unsealed Sept. 16. Koendrick and Kendrick Rayford were named in a complaint unsealed Sept. 11.
Westland gun store theft
The first incident took place at 4:31 a.m. Sept. 11 at the Freedom Holster Gun Shop on South Wayne Road in Westland.
A stolen Kia SUV smashed through the front of the gun shop, and seven people rushed inside.
The thieves grabbed several firearms before fleeing through the front and running east toward Hazelwood Street. They were wearing face masks, gloves, and long-sleeved shirts. Some were carrying a bag.
Authorities estimate about 50 guns were stolen. The thieves were inside the store for less than one minute.
Westland CVS break-in
Around 5 a.m. Sept. 11, two people wearing dark clothing broke into the CVS pharmacy at 7291 North Middlebelt Road in Westland.
The pharmacy is about 5.7 miles from Freedom Holster Gun Shop.
The men were in the store for less than one minute before they left with bottles of liquor, according to authorities.
Officers reviewed surveillance video from the two thefts and determined that at least one of the two men who broke into the pharmacy had also been involved in the gun store break-in. He appeared to be wearing the same clothes, including a distinctive pair of dark-colored pants with white stripes on the leg, police said.
Dearborn Heights theft
At 5:04 a.m. Sept. 11, a stolen Dodge Journey crashed through the front of CC Coins Jewelry and Loan at 24614 West Warren Street in Dearborn Heights.
Three people went into the store through the front and stole multiple firearms, officials said. Two of them were wearing blue hooded sweatshirts and face masks, and the third person was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and dark pants.
Based on surveillance footage, at least one of the three men was wearing the same clothing as someone from the Freedom Holster Gun Shop break-in.
Officials estimate about 22 guns were stolen.
Same Dearborn Heights business targeted
Around 12:15 a.m. Sept. 12, a stolen Chevrolet Equinox smashed through the front of CC Coins Jewelry and Loan in Dearborn Heights -- the same business that had been broken into about 19 hours earlier.
Three men went into the store, grabbed “multiple firearms,” left, and returned for more firearms, according to police. They fled about 15 minutes later, once again with “multiple firearms,” the criminal complaint says.
A special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives investigated the case and determined that the four thefts had been performed by the same group of people.
She said the gun store break-ins were all conducted in the same manner, with a stolen vehicle crashing into the stores in the early hours of the morning.
All the businesses that were targeted are close to each other. The CVS is 5.7 miles from Freedom Holster Gun Shop, and CC Coins Jewelry and Loan is about 2.8 miles from the CVS.
The special agent also noted that some of the thieves from different incidents appeared to be wearing the same clothing.
“The same group could have been involved in all three robberies, or the group could have split after the Freedom Holster Gun Shop robbery,” she wrote in the criminal complaint.
ATF agents reviewed social media posts as part of their investigation into the thefts. Two Instagram accounts they monitored were eventually traced back to Jaquess and Watkins.
Officials said Jaquess was seen in a Sept. 16 post by Watkins that included seven pictures. Jaquess was seen wearing an “Anti-Social Social Club” hooded sweatshirt and a hat that said, “Government is war” on the front, according to authorities.
Jaquess was seen holding what appears to be an AK variant firearm in several of the photos, the criminal complaint says. Multiple AK variants that match that gun’s description were stolen during both the Dearborn Heights and Westland thefts.
The sixth photo shows Watkins holding a distinctive rifle with what appears to be a dark buffer tube, a dark pistol grip, a dark barrel, a light brown receiver, and a light brown magazine, officials said.
A photo uploaded to Jaquess’ Instagram account showed several rifles and pistols lying on a sheet next to six people. The guns matched the description of many that had been stolen in Westland, according to authorities.
Detroit home searched
ATF agents searched Jaquess’ home on Forrer Street in Detroit on Sept. 20. Watkins, another man, and two children were in the basement, but Jaquess was not home that day, court records show.
Officials said they found one gun on a dresser and six guns inside two backpacks.
Four of the guns had been stolen during the Westland burglary: An Arms Corp Philippines STK100 9 mm pistol, a Glock model 22 .40-caliber pistol, a Springfield XD 9 9 mm pistol, and an FN model 509 9 mm pistol.
Two other guns with destroyed serial numbers were found in the basement: a Glock model 22 Gen. 5 .40-caliber pistol and an American Tactical Omni Hybrid pistol. Someone had attempted to obliterate the serial number from a Rohrbaugh model R-9 9 mm pistol imported by Deerpark, New York, too, officials said.
One of the guns found in the home was determined to be the one held by Watkins in the sixth Instagram picture, the criminal complaint says.
Agents said they also recognized one of the dressers at the home as the one in the background of the picture showing several guns lying on a sheet. The photo had been taken in the basement of Jaquess’ home, authorities concluded.
Getaway driver arrested
Officials from the ATF said they identified Carter as another person involved in the thefts.
Agents executed a search warrant at his Detroit home on Thursday and found a Walter model PPQ .22-caliber semiautomatic pistol that had been stolen from CC Coins Jewelry and Loan, they said. The gun was found in an upstairs closet.
Carter and Jordan were both at the home at the time of the search, and they were taken into custody for questioning.
Agents said Carter agreed to talk to them and admitted to being at both of the thefts at CC Coins Jewelry and Loan. He told them that he drove to the store Sept. 10 or Sept. 11 to act as the escape vehicle for the people who stole the guns, the criminal complaint says.
A day later, Carter returned to the store to help the group steal more guns, officials said. He told agents that he had waited in the car while others were inside the store, and he got anxious because of how long they were taking.
Carter took the stolen guns and returned home with another person, according to the complaint.
Brother accused of trading for pistol
Jordan, Carter’s brother, was also interviewed and admitted that he knew about the thefts, authorities said.
He didn’t participate in the break-ins, but had found an assault rifle in the basement of his home soon after and traded a rifle magazine for a pistol, agents said.
Jordan admitted that he knew the gun was stolen, but he was going to try to sell it anyway, according to the criminal complaint.
He said he threw the pistol into the upstairs closet when agents arrived at his home.
Thief turned in for reward money
Footage from the break-ins was shown on the news, and authorities offered a $20,000 reward for information about the people involved.
On Sept. 12, a man went to Westland police and told them that one of his friends was among the thieves. He said he wanted to cooperate with police for reward money, authorities said.
The man told police that his friend, Keondrick Rayford, had come over to his house Sept. 11 wearing the same clothes as one of the men who broke into CC Coins Jewelry and Loan. The witness said he saw video from the theft on the news and recognized Keondrick Rayford’s clothing.
The man turned over Ring doorbell footage that showed Keondrick Rayford’s visit, and agents confirmed his identity, they said.
Officials said the witness told them that Keondrick Rayford had showed him a backpack full of guns.
The next day, Keondrick Rayford texted the witness a story about the incidents and said he was on the news. They then discussed the possibility of the witness buying some of the stolen guns, the criminal complaint says.
Keondrick Rayford had showed the witness a picture of a distinct Glock handgun he wanted to sell, police said. The gun had a red dot sight, holes in the barrel, and other markings. The owner of CC Coins Jewelry and Loan confirmed the Glock appeared to be one of the guns stolen from his store.
6 men charged
Jaquess and Watkins are both facing charges of knowingly possessing stolen firearms.
The Raymond brothers were arrested Sept. 13 and interviewed, according to authorities.
Keondrick Rayford admitted to stealing guns from CC Coins Jewelry and Loan. He said he ran into the store both times after a car crashed into the front, grabbed guns, and put them inside a getaway car, the criminal complaint says. He ran back inside to steal more guns and put them in the getaway car, as well, officials said.
Kendrick Rayford said he didn’t participate in the thefts. He said he saw his brother in possession of the guns and physically held them himself, according to the complaint. Officials said he admitted to knowing the guns were stolen.
Police said Kendrick Rayford also admitted to taking pictures of two stolen AR-style guns so he could help his brother get rid of them. He sent the pictures to someone in an attempt to move them, authorities said.
Two criminal complaints concluded there’s probable cause to charge Carter and Keondrick Rayford with theft of firearms from a federal firearms licensee and knowingly possessing stolen firearms.
Officials also concluded that there’s probable cause to charge Jordan and Kendrick Rayford with knowingly possessing stolen firearms.