gavel and justice scales

U.S. District Judge Kenneth D. Bell handed down prison terms Monday to two Statesville-area men for the theft of four firearms, announced Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western district of North Carolina.

Niseem Booquan Clay, 19, was sentenced to 57 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Clay pleaded guilty on Sept. 26, 2019, to conspiracy to steal or carry away any firearm from a Federal Firearms Licensee and steal or carry away any firearm from a Federal Firearms Licensee. Devin Quamaine Templeton, 23, was ordered to serve 48 months in prison and two years of supervised release. Templeton pleaded guilty on Sept. 17, 2019, to possession of a firearm by a felon.

According to admissions made in court in connection with their guilty pleas and information introduced Monday at their sentencing hearing, on Sept. 19, 2018, in the early morning hours, Clay and Templeton broke into Mr. G’s Pawn & Trade, a business located in Taylorsville. The defendants stole four firearms from the pawn shop, and drove away in a stolen SUV.

Five days later, on Sept. 24, 2018, witnesses called 911 to report that an attempted armed robbery was taking place at a closed gas station in Haywood County. A short time later, law enforcement in Buncombe County initiated a traffic stop of the same stolen SUV. Templeton was the driver of the vehicle, and Clay was a passenger in the back seat. Over the course of the traffic stop, law enforcement recovered three of the four stolen firearms, and 52 rounds of ammunition.

Clay and Templeton are currently in custody. They will be ordered to report to the federal Bureau of Prisons to begin serving their sentence, upon designation of a federal facility. All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.

In making Monday’s announcement, U.S. Attorney Murray thanked the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the Taylorsville Police Department, the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office, and the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office for their investigation of this case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Hess, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, prosecuted the case.

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