Hollywood has always been smitten with the suave, smart criminal. From mob bosses of Prohibition to the gentlemen jewel thieves, such criminals are probably the protagonist of movies far more than they’re the antagonists. There’s just something entertaining about smart criminals.
Alleged gun store burglar Viet Trinh doesn’t look like one of those crooks by any stretch of the imagination.
According to the Denver Post:
Viet Trinh, 18, was charged Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Denver with theft from the inventory of a federal firearms licensee. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to federal charges.
The arrest affidavit filed by agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives provides a chilling glimpse of a growing trend in which criminals use stolen vehicles to smash into gun stores to arm themselves.
Trinh was caught after sending numerous cellphone selfies of himself armed with stolen guns to friends. In the messages, he mentioned the possibility of killing people, including police officers.
Detectives love crooks like this, don’t they?
An informant with the ATF witnessed Trinh and four other men get into a vehicle together. Shortly afterward, five men in a white sedan broke into a gun store and smashed glass display cases, snatching the guns within.
Trinh is then alleged to have texted the informant to meet him and the others at the home of two of the men.
What really made the difference, however, was Trinh’s Facebook page. It also looks like it’s the kind of place where a gun guy can go for a really good laugh.
Trinh’s Facebook page also proved to be an investigative treasure trove for criminal behavior including car thefts and illegal gun dealing dating back to Oct. 10.
On Nov. 11, Trinh messaged friends asking: “Know anyone that wants to buy a baby .40? $300.”
On Dec. 20, he wrote “I got my 9″ wit (sic) full clips. Mixed with poison hallows, regular hallows and strait meadle (sic) jackets.” When asked by text where he got the weapon, Trinh allegedly texted: “A yistol (sic) shop.”
Chris Padilla Jr. wrote Nov. 13 on his Facebook page: “Glizzy gang boi…I got the glizzy…9 & 40.”
He’s going “poisoned hallows.” Are you trembling in your boots yet? I know I am…from laughing.
More seriously, it appears that Trinh has confessed to taking at least some part in the burglaries, but claims he never entered the store as he was the getaway driver. Not that it really matters. If he was part of it crew, he’ll do his share of the time unless he cooperates with prosecutors.
Unfortunately, he also claims he sold at least one of the stolen guns, and I shudder to think what kind of person may own that weapon. While it’s possible it was someone who had no reason to believe it was stolen but is an otherwise law-abiding individual, I won’t hold my breath until the firearm is recovered.
Still, thank all that is holy for dumb criminals (allegedly) who take selfies with their stolen merchandise. May all criminals be that kind of stupid.