Joey Maillet

Joey Maillet

Accused gun thief pleads not guilty in federal court

Joey Maillet suspected in thefts from FREDS Guns and store in Bow

TACOMA — Joey Maillet has pleaded not guilty to federal charges that he stole guns from FREDS Guns and a gun store in Bow.

Maillet, 38, pleaded not guilty on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to two counts of theft of a firearm from a Federal Firearms Licensee, specifically for two guns — one from each store — that had been shipped and transported in interstate and foreign commerce.

A jury trial has been scheduled for Oct. 15 in Tacoma.

Until last month, Maillet, described as a transient in court records, had been held in the Clallam County jail on state charges, but those charges were dismissed to allow Maillet to be taken into federal custody.

Federal court records show that Maillet — who is both a U.S. and Canadian citizen— was cited twice in 2017 for crossing the United States’ northern border illegally, once in Washington and once in Maine.

Court records said that video and forensic evidence link Maillet to the April 13 burglary of FREDS Guns in Carlsborg and the May 3 burglary of All American Armory in Bow, Skagit County.

In both burglaries Maillet is accused of using a vehicle stolen from nearby — both of which had keys left in the vehicle — to smash into the stores, according to court records and interviews.

Investigators say Maillet stole 39 firearms. They say he loaded a duffel bag with 26 handguns while at FREDS Guns and that he loaded a trash can with 13 rifles from All American Armory.

According to the Department of Justice, only one of the 39 guns has been recovered.

The case is being investigated by the ATF, with assistance from the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office, Sequim Police Department, State Patrol, Skagit County Sheriff’s Office, Ferndale Police Department and Washington State Parks rangers.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin H. Becker with assistance from Clallam County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jesse Espinoza.

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Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at jmajor@peninsuladailynews.com.