Man already charged in 3 cases faces more counts for gun thefts

A Jackson Center man who has been charged in connection to multiple thefts in Venango County is now facing 24 more felony charges related to the theft of several guns from a home in Clinton Township.

Brandon Smith, 23, is accused of stealing seven rifles and three handguns, a chainsaw, a concrete saw, two large containers with about $600 in change in them, $70 in cash and two speakers, Franklin state police said in a criminal complaint.

Police said that on Sept. 22, the owner of the guns and other items told police he noticed a red Chevy Cruze driven by someone who owed him money drive down the road where he lived. When he got behind the car to see if it would turn into his driveway, the driver sped away down the road, the complaint said.

When the owner of the items returned home after going to breakfast he immediately noticed someone had been inside his house, the complaint said. After going through the house he and his father made an inventory of items that had been stolen and gave it to police, according to the complaint.

The man told police the car looked like the one belonging to Smith’s girlfriend and that he believed Smith stole the guns and other items from him, the complaint said. A neighbor said he saw a red car pull into the driveway of the house where the theft occurred that morning, according to the complaint.

The owner of the guns and his father found out that Smith was trying to sell the firearms he stole from them, the complaint said. The men paid a friend to set Smith up in an attempt to buy the guns, the complaint said.

When Smith and his girlfriend showed up to sell the stolen rifles, the owners of the guns were waiting for them and took the rifles back, the complaint said. When the men questioned Smith about the stolen pistols, Smith told them they were at a friend’s house and that he would go get them, according to the complaint.

Smith and his girlfriend then got into their car and sped away, the complaint said.

Smith was arraigned Friday and charged with two felony counts of burglary-overnight accommodation, no person present, 14 felony counts of theft by unlawful taking-movable property, seven felony counts of receiving stolen property and a felony count of criminal trespass-enter structure.

He was placed in the Venango County jail after failing to post bail, and a preliminary hearing is scheduled Wednesday in Central Court.

In three earlier cases, Smith has been accused of selling a stolen gun to his uncle as well as stealing several appliances in Sugarcreek, among other crimes.

He is facing felony charges in those three cases, and he waived preliminary hearings in each case Wednesday in Central Court.