U.S. District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh Jr. on Tuesday sentenced Chayce Harrell, 21, of Cairo, Illinois, to 3-1/2 years in federal prison for his role in a 2020 gun store burglary in Cape Girardeau County and ordered him to pay $1,700 in restitution.
Harrell pleaded guilty in December in U.S. District Court in Cape Girardeau to the offense of aiding and abetting the theft of firearms from a federally licensed dealer. According to the plea agreement, Harrell and two accomplices broke into a business in Cape Girardeau County known as JSE Surplus in the early morning hours of August 7, 2020. After forcing entry into the building, the group began gathering multiple firearms from the inventory to steal. Unfortunately for the burglars, however, the owner of the business was staying upstairs to keep watch on the property due to several recent reports of gun store burglaries in the area. The owner quickly went downstairs and opened fire at the burglars with a shotgun. The three accomplices escaped unharmed but dropped all but two firearms as they scrambled out the door.
According to court documents, Harrell was identified as a suspect nearly two years later as part of an ongoing investigation. Harrell co-defendant Senque S. Bingham has also been charged. Charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty. Court documents further reflect that the third accomplice has been identified as a juvenile.
This case was investigated by the Cape Girardeau County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Koester is prosecuting the case. As in all criminal cases, co-defendant Senque Bingham is presumed to be innocent unless and until his guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.