Fourth Peoria resident sentenced in firearms burglaries

By Bill Dwyer For Chronicle Media

The last of four Peoria residents arrested after a series of attempted burglaries at federally licensed firearm dealers was sentenced Tuesday, May 21.  

Erika Garner, 22, was sentenced to time served in the Peoria County Jail. Judge James Shadid also ordered her to serve three years of court supervision. 

Garner was originally released on bond after her Aug. 18 arrest, but her bond was revoked in November after she was found to have violated her conditions of release by communicating with her co-defendants about the case. 

Agents of the Peoria Area Federal Firearms Task Force arrested Garner and three Peoria men, Terrence Daniels, Dezmond Hardy and Shaleik Ward. Hardy, Garner and Daniels each allegedly made statements acknowledging their involvement in the attempted burglaries, and all four entered guilty pleas in January. 

Daniels, 23, received a 45-month sentence on May 9, to be followed by three years of supervised release. His sentence included 33 months for the conspiracy to burglarize the gun dealers, and a 12-month consecutive sentence for committing the crime while on supervised release for committing the same crime in 2019 and 2020, when he and others stole 50 firearms during from gun dealers across five Central Illinois counties.  

Hardy, 23, was sentenced May 16 to 21 months in prison. 

Ward, 20, was sentenced May 9 to 15 months in prison. 

All four offenders must also jointly pay $2,500 in restitution for damages to one of the gun shops. 

At around 3 a.m. Aug. 14, police learned of an attempted burglary of the Mean Metal Guns dealership in Spring Valley, where a glass window had been shattered. The next day, police in Taylorville responded to an attempted burglary at Powder Keg Outfitters. As in the first incident, a window had been shattered. 

The Task Force reviewed security video that showed Hardy throwing a brick through a window at Mean Metal Guns, and Daniels then attempting to climb through the security bars. Daniels later told police that an arm cast and recent weight gain stopped him from fitting between the bars, as he’d previously managed to do when he and others burglarized multiple gun dealers in 2020. 

Police identified Hardy and recovered a car license plate number, as well as a residential address related to the car. For the next three days, law enforcement tailed the offenders and watched as additional burglary attempts were committed at othergun dealers,including Smiley’s Sports Shop in Bloomington Powder Keg Outfitters in Taylorville, Guns and Glory in Le Roy, Tactical Bunker in Lincoln, and Archers Alley in Decatur. The thieves failed to enter any of the stores and no firearms were taken during the attempted burglaries.  

After the four offenders returned to a Peoria apartment early on Aug. 17, police placed a tracking device on the car, and they were arrested the next day.      

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald Hanna said the arrests and convictions were part of an ongoing effort to keep guns out of criminals’ hands and protect the public. 

“Our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners worked together to quickly resolve this case before any guns got into the wrong hands,” he said. “Stolen guns are used to commit acts of violence in our communities.” 

The Peoria Area Federal Firearms Task Force, which investigated the case, is comprised of agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Peoria Police Department, the Peoria County Sheriff’s Department, the Illinois Department of Corrections, and the Illinois State Police.