Twenty-one-year-old Dennis Jose Lopez was sentenced to 10 years in the Virginia Department of Corrections on Sept. 27 for one count of grand larceny of a firearm and one count of conspiracy to commit larceny of a firearm.
In August 2018, an Ashburn man and woman awoke to discover that her two cars — a BMW and a Porsche — had been stolen from their townhome, according to the Loudoun County commonwealth's attorney's office. The man also discovered that his .50-caliber rifle and 150 rounds of ammunition were missing from his garage.
Law enforcement collected fingerprints and sent them to the Virginia Department of Forensic Science to be analyzed, where they were reportedly matched with existing prints in the FBI database for Lopez. Officers also were provided video footage from the victims' home security cameras.
Lopez, of no fixed address, was arrested and interviewed by law enforcement and admitted to stealing the rifle and the Porsche. The Porsche was recovered from a New Jersey auto auction, while the whereabouts of the BMW and the rifle remain unknown.
“While some may look at this a simply a property crime, the reality is that this defendant was immersed in the movement of stolen property, including firearms,” Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Nicole Wittmann said in a prepared statement. “Many property crimes are not as simple as they may appear on their face, and they deeply impact the quality of lives of our residents every day."
Lopez pleaded guilty to the charges on Aug. 23, 2019, before appearing before Loudoun County Circuit Court Judge James P. Fisher for sentencing. The commonwealth's attorney's office says that three charges — one count each of burglary, conspiring to break and enter and felony grand larceny of an automobile — were dropped as part of a plea agreement, though the court could still consider facts from those charges during the sentencing process.
Fisher opined that the Virginia Sentencing Guidelines for the case were "wholly inappropriate and inadequate" and addressed the defendant directly before imposing a sentence.
"You preyed upon residents who have every right to have their property and home protected," Fisher said to Lopez. "You're a criminal, and the court will treat you like one."
The judge imposed 15 years of suspended time with the condition that Lopez behave well and successfully complete five years supervised probation upon his release. Fisher also ordered that Lopez pay $49,311.45 in restitution to the victims.
Officials report Lopez had six pending charges in Maryland related to stolen firearms, use of restricted ammunition, unlawful possession of a firearm and unclassified weapons offenses at the time of sentencing. He had one prior conviction for destruction of public property in Washington, D.C. in 2017.