Vancouver man sentenced for stealing 26 guns

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

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A Vancouver man has been sentenced to six years and three months in federal prison for stealing 26 firearms from a gun store in 2010.

Nicholas Southard, 21, was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Tacoma by Judge Benjamin Settle. He pleaded guilty March 15 to theft of firearms from a federal firearms licensee and possession and sale of stolen firearms, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

As part of the sentence, Southard must also serve three years of supervised release after his prison term.

Southard and his co-defendant, Daniel McNett, 22, also of Vancouver, were indicted last December. The indictment accused the two of breaking into Discount Guns, 7415 N.E. Highway 99, on Dec. 30, 2010, and stealing 25 pistols and one rifle.

Prosecutors said McNett was the burglar and Southard served as the lookout and drove the weapons from the gun store to McNett’s apartment.

Southard then sold six of the guns to felons who were prohibited from having firearms. In exchange, he received cash, drugs and, in one case, a TV, according to the press release.

Prosecutors said one of the customers used a .40-caliber pistol to fire at SWAT officers when they were serving a search warrant. No one was injured.

“Your crime set in motion events that led to an assault on a police officer,” the judge said, according to the news release. “This is an example of the dangerous firearms crimes that have so affected communities in this district.”

Southard also used one of the guns, a .9-mm pistol, to threaten his then girlfriend and her friend, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

McNett pleaded guilty April 10 to theft of firearms from a federal firearms licensee and possession and sale of stolen firearms. He will be sentenced July 25.

Laura McVicker: 360-735-4516; http://www.twitter.com/col_courts; laura.mcvicker@columbian.com.