Imagine you were in the printing business and the government required you to put serial numbers on every book you printed. Imagine the Bureau of Books (BoB) seized a book at a private residence and tried to trace how it got into the hands of someone who was forbidden by Federal law to own a book. They then found out book was recorded as being scrapped instead of lost or stolen.
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that ROBERT BRINKERHOFF, 54, of Old Lyme, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill in Bridgeport to one year of probation for violating federal firearms laws. BRINKERHOFF worked as the general manager of Tri-Town Plastics, a federally-licensed firearms manufacturer located in Deep River.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Tri-Town Plastics (“Tri-Town”), which has since been bought by Smith and Wesson, had a contract with Smith and Wesson to manufacturer firearm frames at its Deep River facility. In February 2012, after the Plainfield Police Department seized a Smith and Wesson 9 millimeter handgun from a residence, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) learned that Smith and Wesson had no record of the handgun ever having been manufactured. According to Tri-Town’s records, the handgun had been scrapped back in March 2011. At that time, ATF was preparing to conduct a routine inspection of Tri-Town to determine whether to renew their federal license to manufacture firearms. Tri-Town had also been inspected in 2009 and been directed by ATF to address some record-keeping issues discovered during that inspection. When two Tri-Town employees discovered that there were approximately 23 firearms missing from their inventory, rather than report them as missing, the employees falsely listed them as “scrapped” in Tri-Town’s acquisition and disposition records, so that ATF would not learn that they were missing and would renew Tri-Town’s license.
Soon after ATF contacted Tri-Town in February 2012 to ask about the Smith and Wesson handgun seized in Plainfield, one of the Tri-Town employees responsible for the fraudulent scrapping advised BRINKERHOFF of what had been done in March 2011. At that point, BRINKERHOFF, who had not known about the March 2011 conduct, failed to report these missing firearms as lost or stolen. In June 2012, BRINKERHOFF caused a theft/loss report to be filed with ATF that listed all of these firearms, but the report failed to advise ATF that all of the firearms had been falsely listed as scrapped back in March 2011.
On March 10, 2014, BRINKERHOFF pleaded guilty to one count of failing to file a theft/loss report and one count of making false statements in a theft/loss report, which are both misdemeanor offenses.
As part of his sentence, Judge Underhill prohibited BRINKERHOFF from engaging in a firearms-related business for a period of 90 days.
This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert M. Spector and Vanessa Richards.
The Second Amendment is just as important as the First Amendment. That this happened to a someone in the gun industry doesn’t make it any less repugnant.