Philadelphia Straw Purchaser Charged with Making 31 Illegal Gun Transactions, Soliciting Murder

May 1, 2024 | Topic: Criminal

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Michelle Henry announced that the Office of Attorney General’s Philadelphia Gun Violence Task Force has arrested a suspected straw purchaser linked to at least 31 illegal firearms purchases as well as soliciting the murder of a man who ultimately was not harmed.

Richard Taylor 37, was recently arrested after making a straw purchase and reaching an agreement with someone on the murder-for-hire job.

Taylor was arraigned on 31 felony counts of violating the Uniform Firearms Act, 31 counts of false swearing, corrupt organizations, criminal solicitation of homicide, and related charges. Bail was set at $5 million (10 percent) and had not been posted.

Through the investigation, agents learned that at least 12 of the guns purchased by Taylor were recovered by Philadelphia police officers throughout the city. Nine of those guns were recovered from individuals during arrests. Taylor had not reported any of the firearms lost or stolen.

In all, investigators allege Taylor purchased or obtained at least 31 firearms that he then transferred illegally. Fourteen firearms purchased by Taylor remain unaccounted for.

“We have a wealth of examples to show that illegally-obtained firearms are often used for criminal activity, and oftentimes, in deadly shootings,” Attorney General Henry said. “My office, in collaboration with law enforcement partners, have prioritized tracking these firearms and the people who put them into the wrong hands to make a profit.”

The Office of Attorney General investigation revealed that Taylor purchased firearms at gun shops and online. Taylor told individuals he could get them as many firearms as they wanted because he did not have a criminal record.

Last month, Taylor engaged with a person for the purpose of illegally selling a firearm that he had straw purchased and also solicited the person to kill a man. Taylor offered $200 and a Glock handgun, and sent the target’s information to the intended hitman.

Taylor, of Old York Road, was arrested after a straw purchase on April 26 at Frank’s Gun Shop in Philadelphia.

The Office of Attorney General Philadelphia Gun Violence Task Force works collaboratively with local, state, and federal agencies to track straw purchases and other illegal transfers and possession of firearms, and incidents of violence that result from those transactions.

Last year, the Task Force seized more than 500 firearms and was a part of nearly 400 investigations in Philadelphia.

All charges are accusations. The defendant is innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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