Shelby Co. (ECWd) –
Former Shelby County Sheriff Don Koonce appears to have created a gun sale special for himself and other deputies and employees. All the information being shared in this article came directly from the Shelby County Sheriff’s office through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests over a two-year period, and from the Illinois State Police. The conflicts are so overwhelming we are baffled as to why no one has been charged yet, assuming the investigators and prosecutors are smart enough to see what we are seeing.
Guns sold illegally and then allegedly recovered after being exposed were compiled into a list of 26 guns with an estimated value to those guns. You can view that document at this link.
The illegal gun sales were done through Locked and Loaded. How do we know that?
“We are unable to provide copies of the FOID cards provided and Illinois background checks due to all transactions being completed through Locked & Loaded, Ltd.” (FOIA Response letter)
The ISP report also indicates all the transactions were handled through Locked and Loaded in Pana, IL.
So if all transactions were done through Locked and Loaded, why were receipts issued for money being given to the Sheriff’s Office for the purchase of guns? It appears the claim of all transactions being completed through Locked and Loaded is not accurate. All inquiries to Locked and Loaded have gone unanswered. We note that our original tip on this matter came from a person with first-hand knowledge that all the guns were in fact taken to Locked and Loaded by the Sheriff with an alleged scheme to sell them at a discounted rate to which Locked and Loaded pushed back on but acquiesced when they were told the funds from the sales were going to be donated to shop with a cop. According to that tip, the Sheriff had first dibs on the guns he wanted, but we have not been able to confirm this since everyone has gone tight-lipped after our initial requests for information on these illegal sales. (Receipts Issued for Gun Sales at the Sheriff’s Office)
The twenty-one receipt records provided in 2019 and 2020 requests reflect that $7,700.00 was accepted for gun sales in the Sheriff’s office, assuming the Koonce and McCall reciepts was in fact for guns. (Receipts Provided in 2019) (Receipts Provided in 2020)
The alleged value of the guns sold totaled $8,870.00. (Guns Sold assigned value by gun)
When I asked for deposit records in February of 2019, the Sheriff’s office provided a single deposit slip that reflected that $1,175.00 was deposited on 3/27/28. (Deposit Record)
When I asked for more detailed information in 2020, mysteriously they provided additional deposit slips for gun sales that they did not provide in my 2019 request. The total of the three deposits made from alleged gun sales was $7,800.00. Note that does not match the receipt book records provided. (Deposit Record – 3 deposits)
How much was paid back to those who purchased guns in violation of the laws? The total of checks cut to purchasers was $8,375.00. (Refund Checks Provided)
Purchasers reimbursed twice for $25 gun transactions?
According to the checks cut as a refund, most included a $25.00 refund for the gun transfer fee imposed by Locked and Loaded. Reading the ISP investigation report is rather interesting on multiple fronts and points to a law enforcement office that clearly has no clue on what the law is pertaining to this illegal operation. Lets begin with the $25.00 fee.
“All firearms were then returned into evidence and the money was refunded to the firearm purchasers. Originally (name redacted in the report) included the $25 L&L paperwork fee from the Shop with a Cop Fund reimbursement, but then (name redacted in report) gave his own funds to the purchasers to reimburse the Shop with a Cop Fund.”
So someone claimed to the ISP that they gave their own funds to the “purchasers” to reimburse the Shop with a Cop Fund? The financial transactions we FOIA’d have no reference of any such fee being reimbursed to shop with a cop. More importantly, why on earth is the taxpayer on the hook for paying a person’s gun purchase transaction fee on an illegal gun purchase?
According to the ISP report on page 126:
“all money has been appropriately refunded from the Shop with a Cop account.”
Gun sales total was $7,700.00.
Gun sales total deposits were $7,800.00.
Gun sales refunds issued to purchasers was $8,375.00.
Not sure who alleged to the ISP that all the money has been appropriately refunded but let’s hope the ISP actually checked the detailed records as we have. The math and the story does not add up.
They KNEW it was wrong?
Page 131 of the ISP report: “(Name redacted) stated he knew it was wrong when he couldn’t find the “paperwork” (judge order) which allowed him to sell the firearms.”
A person would think they would have the paperwork in hand before actually selling them but the fact is no such paperwork ever existed, which makes their story just that, a story.
Did they know it was wrong when they couldn’t find the “paperwork” which allowed him to sell the firearms or they knew it was wrong when they realized they have been caught after my FOIA request related to this matter? There is no such paperwork to allow the sale of seized guns because the law does not permit it. If there was such paperwork from a court, the judge would be the headline of the article for issuing an order that violates their power under the law.
720 ILCS 5/24-6 – “The court may not order the transfer of the weapon to any private individual or private organization other than to return a stolen weapon to its rightful owner.”
If they knew it was wrong because of not having the appropriate paperwork, where was the paperwork that supported the sale they made in 2014? (Illegal gun sales in 2014)
For those that think a court order makes a difference with what a sheriff does with guns, rest assured it doesn’t. Former Coles County Sheriff, now county board member Darrel Cox sold guns not only in violation of the law but in direct conflict with actual orders to destroy them. (Article here). Just imagine, the court orders you to destroy it and you ignore the order and then sell them in direct violation of not only the court order but state law as well. Cox was never held accountable for his actions even after that story was covered nationally by Fox News and we doubt anyone in Shelby County will be either.
The follow-up to this article will be a detailed breakdown of the special discounts given to the purchasers of the guns, all done with highly discounted prices to support a charity.