By Kelly Glista, Hartford Courant
HARTFORD — A Bridgeport man pleaded guilty on Tuesday to several charges related to the theft of 111 firearms from the Smith & Wesson manufacturing plant in Springfield, one of which was allegedly found in the possession of convicted felon and former Aaron Hernandez associate Alexander Bradley.
Elliot Perez, 28, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Alvin W. Thompson in Hartford to conspiracy to possess and sell stolen firearms, possession of firearms by a convicted felon and making a false statement to a federal law enforcement officer, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Perez is scheduled to appear in court for sentencing on April 21.
In November 2012, Perez, who was a truck driver for Pace Motor Lines, picked up five boxes of guns from the Smith & Wesson facility, which he was to deliver to the trucking company’s distribution center in Stratford, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Perez allegedly grabbed another three boxes at the manufacturing plant, which he delivered to an associate before making his planned trip to the distribution center with the original five boxes.
The three stolen boxes contained 111 firearms, many of which Perez and his associate stored and ultimately sold.
On Feb. 2, Alexander Bradley was shot three times outside Vevo Lounge in Hartford. Police say he responded by retrieving a gun from his car and firing at the door and windows of the bar, causing patrons inside to dive for cover. Lt. Brian Foley, head of the Hartford police Major Crimes division, said that it was “very lucky” no one else was injured.
Bradley’s gun was recovered during the shooting investigation and Hartford detectives confirmed that it was one of the 111 weapons stolen from Springfield. Bradley, a convicted felon with a pending domestic violence case in Hartford, was described by Foley as someone who had “no rhyme or reason to have a gun, for sure.”
Bradley was charged with several firearms offenses after the February incident and is scheduled to appear in court on March 5.
Bradley filed a civil suit against former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez in June 2013, about a week before Hernandez was arrested and charged in the slaying of Odin Lloyd. Bradley claimed Hernandez shot him in the eye in February 2013 after an argument at a Florida strip club. He also was with Hernandez the night of a 2012 double homicide in Boston in which Hernandez is a suspect. Bradley has been subpoenaed to appear before two Massachusetts grand juries investigating Hernandez for the Lloyd homicide and the double homicide in Boston.