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FBI Doing Gun Roundup To Try To Solve Tom Wales Murder

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Drizzt, Jul 16, 2003.

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  1. Drizzt

    Drizzt Member

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    FBI Doing Gun Roundup To Try To Solve Tom Wales Murder

    July 15, 2003

    By Michelle Esteban


    SEATTLE - Gun owners say the FBI is rounding up pistols in a nationwide effort to solve the murder of Tom Wales, a federal prosecutor from Seattle.

    It's been 19 months since Wales was gunned down in his Queen Anne home. The feds are looking for Makarov pistols -- a special kind of gun that may have been used in the killing.

    Wade's Gun Shop in Bellevue describes it as an inexpensive, but "very reliable" pistol.

    According to "Mak" owners, the FBI is looking for pistols that have been fitted with replacement barrels.

    John Grove of Virginia, a Mak owner, got a call from the FBI in January. "(The agent) said he was trying to find a particular weapon used in a murder and they were rounding up all these Federal Arms Corporation barrels from Makarovs," says Grove.

    Federal Arms is a Minnesota-based importer. "I think it's a fishing expedition...I was surprised they (FBI) received my purchase records," says Grove.

    The FBI confiscated Grove's gun, and he's not the only one: "Here's another one: 'They are indeed working the case of U.S. Attorney Tom Wales,' " said Dave Workman, senior editor at "Gun Week." He uncovered dozens of chat room postings - most of them Mak owners talking about the FBI, the Mak pistols, and the Tom Wales murder investigation.

    "This has been on the internet for months," says Workman.

    One source told Gun Week the Makarov in question was outfitted with a replacement barrel and that the killer used the wrong ammunition. "That's why they're doing all these tests, they're trying to find a rifling match," says Workman. He says a match could link a shell casing to a pistol, and to the killer.

    KOMO 4 News talked to the FBI. They won't deny or confirm the pistol roundup -- they won't comment on pending investigations.

    "I don't have any doubt, I think it is linked to the Wales case," says Workman. "I hope the FBI really goes out and gets the bad guy who's done it."

    We do know the FBI is offering a million dollar reward to find Tom Wales killer.

    Earlier this year, we reported a Seattle Times investigation had linked the Wales case to a Bellevue pilot. The paper reported Wales prosecuted the man for fraud and that the pilot was the center of a secret grand jury investigation.

    http://www.komotv.com/stories/26049.htm
     
  2. Kharn

    Kharn Member

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    Probably .380 in a 9x18 Mak?

    Kharn
     
  3. JohnBT

    JohnBT Member

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    Hope they catch the coward.

    JT
     
  4. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    Hmmm, wonder if the science majors in the media will wonder aloud what impact "fingerprinting" would have on a replacement barrel with improper ammo???

    Just ask TFLer Erich about the confusion wrought using the "wrong" ammo in an alleged murder will have on the prosecution!:p
     
  5. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    How about a journalist who knows when to use apostrophes?
     
  6. sanchezero

    sanchezero Member

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    Are they looking thru those destroyed purchase records and insta-checks?

    It must be tough as a Jr Secret Agent, dumpster diving and patching all those little shredded strips back together...


    :uhoh:
     
  7. Kharn

    Kharn Member

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    Sanchezero:
    From what I read on Falfiles (FAC has a forum on that board where one of their higher-ups, 'Harlan At FAC', visits and posts to regularly), the court apparently (FAC isnt allowed to dilvulge whats going on, so people are trying to piece together the whole situation) issued an injunction/subpeona against FAC and they had to give up their sales records on the Mak barrels. Thats how the owners are being tracked down, and probably not NICS.

    Kharn
     
  8. tyme

    tyme Member

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    Let me get this straight.

    â€The person who did this attack on Tom knew that Tom went down to his computer every night about 10 o'clock to check his e-mails. Knew where his motion sensor lights were, was able to evade those lights," said Bruce Gryniewski, executive director, Washington CeaseFire. [1]

    Yet the murderer is going to keep the replacement barrel and/or firearm around, unmodified, so that the ever-persistent FBI will have solid evidence should they ever locate and get a court order to confiscate the weapon?

    Does anyone know with reasonable certainty that they're using illegally-kept NICS data rather than gathered 4473s?

    [1] http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/04/16/eveningnews/main506332.shtml
     
  9. brookstexas

    brookstexas member

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    Hey Tyme-

    Tyme said "Does anyone know with reasonable certainty that they're using illegally-kept NICS data rather than gathered 4473s?"

    Seems they are contacting people that ordered replacement barrels only not 4473 data

    BUT- a net search about the recent D.C. sniper killings will show they DO have records going back over 10 years as they started showing up at AR15 owners houses, and as a year later some of these good citizens who let the FBI 'borrow" their guns haven't had them returned.
    BT
     
  10. tyme

    tyme Member

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    Oh so they know the manufacturer of the replacement barrel used and are forward-tracing all of them? Sounds fun. Also sounds like a chain-of-evidence problem going from "perp used x barrel" to "let's confiscate all of the barrels in the area and check them."
     
  11. Diesle

    Diesle Member

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    Are they returning the guns/barrels to the owners after they have been ruled out?


    Diesle
     
  12. Raymond VanDerLinden

    Raymond VanDerLinden Member

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    I'm Sure they'll return the barrels.

    And it shouldn't take more than 5 or 10 years :rolleyes:
     
  13. Kharn

    Kharn Member

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    Brookstexas:
    MD has required registration of skinny-barreled (3/4"+ diameter over the entire length is exempt) AR15s when sold in the state since 1996. There also arent very many gunstores near DC in Maryland, so sending a few agents to each store to check the bound books wouldnt be that difficult.

    Kharn
     
  14. HankB

    HankB Member

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    Something doesn't check here . . . the postings say the FBI is picking up barrels and guns . . . wouldn't they need a separate warrant for each one they confiscate? :confused:

    And is there some legal basis for forcing FAC to not talk about it? :confused:

    I'm not trying to be sarcastic, I just don't understand the legal issues involved.
     
  15. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

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    Hank,

    As long as the owners voluntarily surrendered the barrels, there would be no need for a warrant.

    Jeff
     
  16. HankB

    HankB Member

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    Jeff, that makes it sound like a traffic cop asking permission to search your trunk during a stop . . . but the story says the FBI confiscated the guy's pistol. That doesn't exactly sound like a voluntary surrender.

    Anyway, like someone already said, if the killer used an aftermarket barrel, he probably dumped it, and probably the whole gun, right after the murder. Seems like the FBI is desparately clutching at straws . . . and it makes me wonder how much effort they'd expend investigating if a nobody - like a THR member? - had been the victim.
     
  17. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

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    Hank,
    I was only stating that is the nice Fibbie showed up at someone's door and asked if they could have his pistol or barrel as part of an investigation, many people would comply out of the mistaken belief that if they showed they were cooperative and had nothing to hide, the nice Fibbie would go away.

    So what does confiscated mean? To you and I it means one thing, to a journalist it could mean something totally different. To the man who had his gun taken, it really doesn't matter if he voluntarily surrendered it or if they came with a court order. If they are doing this on a large scale, I rather doubt that they are getting individual search warrants. I can't imagine a federal judge issuing a search warrant on the basis that a weapon of this type was used in this murder and according to the records the imorter gave us, this guy owns one. I would be willing to bet that this fishing expedition is relying on cooperation from the gun owners.

    You would be surprised how much a police officer can get just by asking for it. This would be especially so for an FBI agent, because the FBI being involved suggests a special importance in most sheeple's minds.

    And no the FBI wouldn't be involved in the investigation of the murder of an ordinary citizen. Generally murder is only a federal crime if it occurs on federal land or involves a federal official.

    Jeff
     
  18. vmi93

    vmi93 Member

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    Busy work...

    Hey, those guys have to do something to look busy for the four or five years they have to wait till the perp's brother or a local LEO solve the case.
     
  19. p35

    p35 Member

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    From what I read, if they don't get the barrel voluntarily they subpoena the owner to appear before a federal grand jury and bring his gun with him. One account said it was done with .380 ammo fired through a 9x18 barrel, which apparently would make it very hard to get good matches off the bullets. The fired casings were found at the scene, though, and they could probably do a match to those too.

    I agree that it's a remote lead, but they've tried everything else to catch the SOB behind this. I didn't care for Tom Wale's politics, but all indications are that he was assassinated because of his work as a Federal prosecutor, and that's way over the line. I can't knock the FBI for putting a full court press on this.
     
  20. Nathaniel Firethorn

    Nathaniel Firethorn Member

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    Two points:

    1. The perp has prolly thrown the barrel off the Bainbridge Island Ferry by now.

    2. Why the heck is Federal Arms keeping all these customer records lying around, waiting to be subpoenaed?

    - pdmoderator
     
  21. John Ross

    John Ross Member

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    I read that they were looking for a "threaded barrel" and this made no sense to me. I could not believe that an aftermarket company's threaded barrels would have a unique interior dimension or configuration compared to their unthreaded ones.

    My initial assumption was that some newsie had confused "threading" with "rifling" but it never got corrected so I don't know what to think.

    I don't know anything about Maks, seem to remember they're .360" or something? Never miked the ammo for my Stechkin. What else commonly fires this round?

    My own question is the timing. Assume what we're being told is accurate (perhaps a bad assumption.) If the slugs in Wales' body were .360" and about the only gun that fires that is a Mak, they'd have gotten *that* far in 24 hours.

    If they observed that the lands and grooves were different dimensions than any military Mak contractor produced (another day or two of work), we're talking aftermarket barrel. How many aftermarket Mak barrel suppliers are there? Half a dozen? Less? The feds should have gotten to where they are now in weeks if not days. It is now over a year and a half since the murder.

    I got an email yesterday about this from a fellow who said

    "There seems to be some question as to whether the feds are really trying to solve the crime, or are looking for a gun owner they can stick with a handy frameup with evidence they've manufactured in their own *crime lab*. I don't expect I need to tell you of the FBI history of that sort of thing..."

    Curiouser and curiouser.

    My prediction: If the Wales murder is solved it will be because someone dropped a dime.

    JR
     
  22. Jack T.

    Jack T. Member

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    FWIW: Those of you who read Shooting Sports Retailer. . .There is a short article about two chaps who have patented a way to imprint a "bar code" on bullets while they go through the barrell. I looked for a link that had more details, but was unable to find anything. I am at work and don't have the article in front of me, but IIRC, they use a laser to imprint a unique barcode multiple times on the bullet as it travels through the barrel. They are hoping to get funding from some outfit in Kansas.

    Food for thought. . .
     
  23. Tropical Z

    Tropical Z Member

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    I know this much,if they came for mine id refuse and take a video of me dropping it overboard into the ocean!!! This isnt 1939 Germany!!!!!!!!!!:cuss:
     
  24. TallPine

    TallPine Member

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    Oh yeah, right ... bring a gun into a courtroom ...?
     
  25. 0007

    0007 Member

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    Excuse me, but does this mean that the next time someone gets shot with a gun in .45ACP caliber that the fbies are going to start going around and picking up all the 1911s and the clones and checking them? It seem to me that this action is so far over the edge of what is "legal" as to boggle the imagination. I would hope that the least that come out of this is that companies selling parts for firearms would do the purchasers the courtesy of destroying the records of their sales in a timely manner. :banghead: :fire:
     
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