Man pleads guilty in theft of 100 guns from Chicago rail yard

Andrew Shelton snuck into a rail yard on Chicago’s South Side two years ago hunting for designer shoes, leather clothes or other goods he could steal from a parked freight train.

Instead, he and seven other thieves found guns, the feds say. Lots of them, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

Shelton, also known as “Manki,” had been facing trial next month for the April 12, 2015, theft that put more than a hundred stolen Ruger firearms on the streets of Chicago. Instead, Shelton decided to plead guilty Friday to illegal possession of a firearm and possession of a stolen firearm, records show. He expects to face as many as 11 years in prison, according to his plea declaration.

At least three of Shelton’s co-defendants, including former Boston Celtics player Nate Driggers, appear headed to trial April 17 in connection with the theft from a freight train that had been parked in a rail yard near the 8000 block of South Chicago. Another man, Warren Gates, has already been sentenced to 63 months in prison.

The feds say Shelton belonged to one of two robbery crews that targeted a train that had been carrying 318 guns from a Ruger factory in New Hampshire. The train parked overnight in Chicago on its way to Spokane, Washington. The crew members recognized each other from the neighborhood and decided to work together to steal the guns.

The thieves divvied up the weapons and set out to sell as many as possible. Authorities have tied at least one of the stolen guns to a shooting in Chicago on Jan. 22, 2016.