Philadelphia Serial Straw Purchaser Charged with Illegally Transferring 20+ Guns, Including Several Used in Crimes

November 30, 2023 | Topic: Criminal

HARRISBURG – Attorney General Michelle Henry announced charges against a Philadelphia man for illegal purchases and distribution of nearly two dozen firearms dating back to 2014. Notably, in just a nine month period in 2022, Bricker purchased 21 guns. 

Michael Brickle, 37, is alleged to have “straw purchased” a total of 23 firearms, buying the guns and then selling or transferring them to individuals not legally eligible to purchase and/or possess firearms. None of the guns were reported lost or stolen, and at least six of them were recovered in separate criminal investigations across the Philadelphia region. Many of the guns recovered were linked to drug crimes, one to a shooting incident, and, tragically, one was used by an individual to take his own life.

Brickle was arrested and charged Wednesday with over 40 felony counts of violating the Uniform Firearms Act for illegal firearms transfer and false statements made in connection with the purchase of firearms. Brickle was also charged with conspiracy, tampering with records, and other related crimes. 

Brickle was arraigned on Wednesday and bail was set at $1 million.

“As we can see in this case, straw-purchased guns often end up in the hands of dangerous individuals to be used in the commission of crimes,” said Attorney General Henry. “Straw purchasing fuels gun violence in our communities and poses a threat to all who live in surrounding neighborhoods. In this case, the defendant’s actions also contributed to deadly consequences. My office will not tolerate this proliferation of illegal guns and is committed to tracking these purchasers down, and holding accountable the people who knowingly put deadly weapons into the hands of criminals.”

Attorney General Henry has made the investigation into straw-purchased firearms, and prosecution of straw purchasers and firearm traffickers, a priority for her office. The Attorney General’s Office has raised awareness and use of the Track and Trace program and continues to expand Gun Violence Task Forces across the Commonwealth, teaming with federal, state, and local agencies.

All charges are accusations. The defendant is innocent unless and until proven guilty. This case will be prosecuted by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. 

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