Chester woman arrested for straw purchase of nine guns
Media, PA – Today District Attorney Jack Whelan, Chester Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland, and Commissioner Otis Blair announced the arrest of Vikki Towns-Perez 35, who is facing felony charges for the straw purchase of (9) nine firearms which she sold illegally on the street for money. The arrest is the conclusion of a joint investigation conducted by the Delaware County Criminal Investigation Division (CID), Chester Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) with assistance from Delaware County Adult Probation & Parole and the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office.
Vikki Towns-Perez, 35, of the 800 block of W. 3rd Street in Chester, is charged with nine counts of the following charges: (1) firearm ownership and providing false information, (2) firearm ownership and duty of another person and (3) tampering with public records, all felony charges. She is also charged with false statements and false reports to law enforcement and related charges. If convicted on at least two charges, Towns-Perez faces a 5-year minimum mandatory sentence under the Brad Fox Law.
Towns-Perez was arraigned in Linwood District Court and remanded to the George W. Hill Correctional Facility after failing to post $10,000 bail.
As part of an ongoing investigation by the Delaware County Criminal Investigation Division and the ATF, Detective David Tyler of the District Attorney’s CID Gun Trafficking Unit launched an investigation on January 21, 2016, into the possible straw purchase of multiple guns. Through the course of the investigation, Detective Tyler determined that Towns-Perez purchased nine handguns between February 2012 and May 2013. All of the guns were purchased by her and registered in her name, with several of the guns being the same make and model, including multiple .9mm Kel-Tec handguns.
During an interview with authorities, Towns-Perez stated that she had purchased all nine guns for her nephew who she believed had been convicted of several crimes and therefore was not able to purchase guns for himself. Her nephew would describe the gun he wanted, give Towns-Perez cash to pay for the gun which she would purchase in exchange for $150-200 in cash profit. During an interview with authorities, Towns-Perez stated that she would meet her nephew in the 2600 block of Boyle Street in the Highland Gardens neighborhood of Chester and exchange the guns for the money.
Of the nine guns that were straw purchased, five have been recovered by authorities, all of which were used in felony crimes.
Towns-Perez is currently in police custody and will be arraigned in Linwood District Court. Since 2014, Delaware County District Attorney’s Office has prosecuted and convicted five individuals for the straw purchase of guns under the Brad Fox Law which went into effect in January 2013. Towns-Perez is the sixth individual to be arrested by authorities in Delaware County for the straw purchase of guns.
At the press conference, District Attorney Whelan announced that the Gun Trafficking Unit is working closely with local, state and federal authorities in law enforcement to crack down on the illegal transfer and straw purchase of firearms and reduce crime in the city of Chester.
In partnership with police departments in Delaware County, the Office of the District Attorney launched an anti-crime straw purchase campaign to raise awareness about the serious charges associated with the illegal transfer of guns and to make it known that those who commit gun crimes will be prosecuted.
“We know that the vast majority of the illegal guns on the streets used for violence and crime are a result of straw purchases,” said District Attorney Jack Whelan. “In the case of Vikki Towns-Perez, she purchased these guns without any regard for the law, knowingly giving them to an individual she believed to be a criminal. I would like to commend Det. Tyler for leading the investigation with the ATF into these guns and commend Officer Patrick Flynn of the Chester Police Department along with Sgt. Nick Maraini and Sgt. Kevin Scanlan of the Delaware County’s Sheriff’s Warrant Division and Jeffrey Roney of Adult Probation & Parole and Probation Officer Lynette Mosely for their assistance in locating the defendant.”
Deputy District Attorney George B. Dawson who is Chief of the Anti-Violence Unit is prosecuting.
OFFICE OF THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY - DELAWARE COUNTY COURTHOUSE MEDIA, PENNSYLVANIA 19063 - 610-891-4161
JOHN J. WHELAN, DISTRICT ATTORNEY . | . JOSEPH A. RYAN, CHIEF OF DETECTIVES
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, DATE: April 12, 2017
CONTACT PERSON: Emily H. Harris, 610.891.4943