By Steve Neavling
A former contract security guard who stole guns, ammunition and firearms parts from the ATF and then sold them pleaded guilty Wednesday to crimes related to the thefts.
Christopher Lee Yates, of Martinsburg, W.V., admitted in court that he stole the items from ATF’s National Firearms and Ammunition Destruction Branch facility near Martinsburg, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Bill Powell.
An investigation found that Yates stole the guns, ammunition and firearm parts while serving as a security guard from 2016 to 2019.
Yates, who faces up to 10 years behind bars and a $250,000 fine, pleaded guilty in exchange for prosecutors dismissing two felony counts.
What remains unclear is why the ATF didn’t have safeguards in place to avoid the thefts.