Prison Term for Burglar of Westminster Gun Store

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A 22-year-old man who stole 93 handguns from a Westminster store and tried to burglarize two other firearm dealerships was sentenced Monday to 15 years in prison, and his partner faces more than six years behind bars.

Michael Lamont Bourgeois and Cedric Gunter, 24, both of Los Angeles, were convicted by a jury in January of conspiracy to burglarize the Stockade gun store on Westminster Boulevard and being felons in possession of firearms, Assistant U.S. Atty. Ronald Cheng said.

Bourgeois has prior convictions that include stealing semiautomatic handguns and rifles from three Los Angeles County gun stores and possession of rock cocaine, prompting U.S. Judge Terry J. Hatter to rule that Bourgeois is an armed career criminal, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years, Cheng said. Gunter also has prior convictions, including robbery and receipt of stolen property, Cheng said.

The pair were arrested April 26, 1994, by a Huntington Beach police officer who stopped Bourgeois and Gunter because their car had a broken headlight.

"The officer later found a pair of bolt cutters in the trunk of the vehicle that was later identified as the same one used in the Stockade burglary," Cheng said.

"They were on their way to burglarize another gun store," he said.

Investigators said the men sold the stolen handguns shortly after the Stockade burglary. Bourgeois and Gunter were also connected to a failed burglary attempt in South Gate on April 13, 1994.

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