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A Versailles man who stole nine firearms during the burglary of a Versailles pawn shop pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to possessing the firearms illegally.

Joseph Marin Melendez, 47, pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of firearms.

By pleading guilty, authorities said, Melendez admitted he had burglarized Ozark Gun & Pawn in Versailles during the early morning hours of July 22, 2016. Morgan County deputies recognized Melendez on the surveillance video. Melendez used a crowbar to pry open the front door of the store, walked behind the counter, grabbed several firearms, and then left the store.

Law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Melendez's residence. They recovered a Glock handgun with an Ozark Gun & Pawn price tag attached inside a minivan parked at the residence. Inside the residence, they recovered the remaining eight stolen firearms inside a white bucket underneath a wheelbarrow outside the residence.

The firearms included a Glock 9mm semi-automatic pistol, three Glock .40-caliber semi-automatic pistols, a Glock .357-caliber semi-automatic pistol, three Sturm Ruger .357-caliber magnum revolvers, and a Taurus .357-caliber magnum revolver.

Melendez is a convicted felon and therefore prohibited by federal law from possessing any firearms or ammunition.

Under federal statutes, Melendez is subject to a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without parole. His sentence will be determined by the court based on advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after completion of a pre-sentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.

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