Man arrested for theft of 16 firearms from Worcester armory

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WORCESTER, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) – Police have arrested a man who they believe stole more than a dozen firearms from the Army Reserve in Worcester.

Police believe James W. Morales, 34, stole six rifles and 10 handguns from the armory on Nov. 14 around 11 p.m.

Morales has been charged with unlawful possession of a machine gun, unlawful possession of stolen firearms and theft of government property.

According to an affidavit, Morales broke into a window in the kitchen of the training facility then climbed on top of the vault where the weapons were stored and cut a hole through the ceiling.

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The FBI says Morales had been arrested in May for child rape and indecent assault on a child under 14. He was ordered to wear a GPS bracelet which tracked him to the facility when the weapons were stolen. On Monday it is believed he cut off the bracelet.

In a statement to FOX25, the Mass. Department of Probation said:

"The case involving James Morales is a pending police  investigation. Therefore,  probation cannot provide the specific facts of this case. However, the agency can confirm that the court placed Morales on pre-trial conditions of release on a rape of a child offense. 

The court ordered Morales' pre-trial conditions to include GPS bracelet which includes the setting of inclusion zones, an area where he is allowed to be in, and exclusion zones, areas where he is prohibited from entering. His other ; no contact with victim: direct or indirect; no contact with children 16 and under; and Morales was ordered not to reside where children also live. He was allowed contact with his own children under the supervision of their mother.

Probation received a strap alert (cut or tamper) on November 16th at 8:47 a.m. A probation officer attempted to reach Morales. When the Probation Officer could not reach him, she filed a bench warrant at 12:21 p.m."

FBI investigators discovered blood samples around the scene of the theft and were able to match them to Morales’ DNA.

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The FBI was able to track Morales to Long Island, New York where he was arrested Wednesday night by the Nassau County Police Department. He was in federal court in New York on Thursday.

Morales had been at the same Army Reserve Center earlier in the week to collect his discharge papers, although specifics about that are not currently available. 

Morales became a suspect after investigators matched DNA from blood found near the ceiling area where they say he was cutting through the vault. They also say his GPS monitor shows he was in the building at the time of the crime. Morales will be in Federal Court Friday on several charges including having the stolen guns and breaking into government property.

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