Philly men allegedly used soldier's stolen ID to buy guns

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

We’ve long argued that criminals don’t buy guns lawfully. Even if the guns themselves come from gun stores, they’re not the result of a sale where everyone was above board. Usually, they’re from straw buys.


Yet not always.

Sometimes, people use fake IDs to buy guns. It doesn’t happen often, mostly because it takes a really good ID card to fool someone who looks at IDs all day, but it can happen.

Yet a couple of guys in Philadelphia did something a bit more unusual than that.

Two Philadelphia men and a third man from Wilmington, Delaware, have been arrested and charged for their alleged roles in using a stolen identification card to illegally purchase more than a dozen guns, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said on Thursday.

Taalibudeen Anderson, 22, Tariq Anderson, 23, and Daijon Griffin, 21, are accused of using the identity of an Army soldier, Shaheim Dontez Mitchell, to falsify documents to purchase 14 guns and start an illegal gun-selling ring. They are charged with more than 500 counts of identity theft and gun trafficking, a press release from Steele’s office said.

“Gun trafficking defeats a key tool to prevent serious crime and puts our communities and the people who live there at risk. Not only did the defendants’ alleged crimes endanger the physical safety of Pennsylvanians, but they exploited the identity of a soldier serving our country,” Attorney General Michelle Henry said.

Mitchell was visiting his mother in April when he lost his wallet containing both his Pennsylvania and military ID cards. Taalibudeen and Tariq, who lived a few houses away on the 5600 block of Boyer Street, found the wallet, authorities say. Neither of the men is legally allowed to purchase guns due to previous run-ins with the law.


The two men used the ID to buy 14 firearms, purchasing them online then going to a story to take possession of them with the fake ID.

They tried to buy more, but that’s when things went sideways for them.

When police pulled over their Lyft ride, one of the two men showed his real ID card, but he had the stolen ID in his wallet. Both men were prohibited from buying guns, were on their way to a gun store, and had a stolen identification car.

Then the other guy decided to run from the police, which didn’t work out as he planned since he was caught a short time afterward.

Police recovered three of the 14 guns, including one used in a shooting, making it pretty clear that they were buying the guns to sell to criminals.

So much for all that gun control preventing that, huh?

What’s not mentioned is whether the stolen ID was doctored with one of the men’s faces or whether the soldier happened to look similar to one of them. Otherwise, I have questions as to how they were able to use the ID card.

Either way, though, they did and one has to wonder just how many others are doing this exact same thing and have never been caught.

I doubt there’s any way to know.

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