U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York
(716) 843-5700
December 17, 2014

Pennsylvania Woman Pleads Guilty to Possession, Sale, and Transportation of a Stolen Firearm

ROCHESTER, NY—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Ciera Leann Bennett, 23, of Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci to possession and sale of a stolen firearm and transportation of a stolen firearm over state lines. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 or both.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles E. Moynihan, who is handling the case, stated that Bennett was arrested after an investigation by the Pennsylvania State Police into the theft of a .38 caliber revolver from the owner in Tioga, Pennsylvania. On April 26, 2012, the defendant and co-defendant, Danelle Wilson, transported the stolen .38 caliber revolver from Tioga, Pennsylvania, to Elmira, NY, and sold it.

On December 31, 2012, the firearm was recovered in Ithaca, NY. Ballistic tests on the firearm concluded that the firearm had been used in an officer-related shooting in October of 2012, in which an Ithaca police officer was seriously injured. Bennett admitted that she took the gun from her mother without permission, sold it and used the money from the sale to buy drugs.

The plea is the culmination of an investigation on the part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Pennsylvania State Police.

Sentencing is scheduled for March 19, 2015, at 3:30 p.m. before Judge Geraci.

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