ALBANY — A Columbia County man was sentenced to prison Tuesday for his role in a 2020 break-in at a Ghent gun dealership, acting U.S. Attorney Antoinette T. Bacon said.
Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas J. McAvoy sentenced Austin Suarez, 26, of Hudson to 8 1/3 years in prison and three years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay $624 restitution, Bacon said.
Suarez pleaded guilty on Jan. 11. As part of his plea, Suarez admitted that on Feb. 18, 2020, he and co-conspirator Duane Thompson agreed that Thompson would break into from Zero Tolerance Manufacturing, a federally licensed firearms dealer, on Route 9H in West Ghent, and steal firearms, Bacon said.
Suarez aided Thompson in obtaining a pry bar and two-way radios to use during the burglary. That evening, Suarez drove and dropped off Thompson outside the store, knowing that Thompson would break into the store, steal firearms and return to Suarez’s car with the stolen firearms, Bacon said.
Thompson broke into the store and stole five AR-style rifles and returned to Suarez’s vehicle, at which point they left the area with the stolen firearms, Bacon said.
The stolen rifles were recovered in the course of the investigation, Bacon said.
Thompson, 26, pleaded guilty in October 2020 to stealing the firearms from the gun store. He was sentenced in March to two years in prison, Bacon said.
The announcement Tuesday was made by Bacon and John B. DeVito, special agent in charge of the New York Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
The case was investigated by ATF, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and the Greene County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance provided by the U.S. Marshals Service and state police, and was prosecuted by assistant U.S. Attorney Emmet O’Hanlon.