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Former Army Reservist Charged In Weapons Theft From Worcester Armory

WORCESTER (CBS) — A 34-year-old former Army reservist has been arrested in connection with a weapons theft at a Worcester armory on Saturday.

The FBI announced Thursday morning that James Walker Morales was taken into custody Wednesday night by authorities on New York’s Long Island on state and federal warrants.

Read The Criminal Complaint (PDF)

Morales, who also faces a child rape charge from earlier in the year, is charged with unlawful possession of a machine gun and unlawful possession of firearms.

Six M-4 rifles and 10 Sig Sauer M11 9mm pistols had been stolen from the Lincoln Stoddard Army Reserve Center on Lake Avenue North. The weapons have a total value of more than $1,000.

Army Reserve armory in Worcester. (WBZ-TV)

Army Reserve armory in Worcester. (WBZ-TV)

The FBI has not said if the guns have been recovered.

Morales spent more than five hours in the vicinity of the armory on Saturday night, according to FBI affidavit. An alarm was triggered for a vault at the Army Reserve Center at 9:07 p.m. At 7:30 a.m. Sunday, Army personnel found someone had forced their way into the roof of the gun vault, which is located in the center’s drill room.

Surveillance cameras caught a man suspected on stealing 16 guns from a Worcester Army Reserve Center. (Courtesy Photo)

Surveillance cameras caught a man suspected on stealing 16 guns from a Worcester Army Reserve Center. (Courtesy Photo)

Investigators later discovered the thief broke a kitchen window to get into the drill room and then climbed on top of the vault before cutting a hole through its ceiling with a saw and a pry bar, which is made of several layers of metal and wood.

Authorities say the man left four “reddish brown stains” in and around the weapons vault. They claim DNA obtained from those stains was a match for Morales, who had been wearing a monitoring bracelet after he was charged with child rape back in May.

It’s believed he cut that bracelet off on Monday morning, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. A preliminary review of the bracelet’s data showed Morales was at the armory Saturday night into early Sunday morning.

Morales was also convicted in 2013 of aggravated assault and battery, the FBI stated. He was at the armory two days before the burglary to pick up discharge papers, according to the FBI.

James Morales mug shot from 2013. (Image credit Somerville police)

James Morales mug shot from 2013. (Image credit Somerville police)

The FBI has said there is no known link to terrorism.

Morales is set to appear in federal court in New York on Friday.

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