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2 People Arrested For Making Straw Purchases In Philadelphia

By Chelsea Karnash and Walt Hunter

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia police have arrested two people in connection with the straw purchases of six different handguns.

On Oct. 11, 41-year-old Lakeisha Taylor came to the attention of police when she bought two .40 caliber handguns at a local store. The salesman was suspicious and contacted the Gun Violence Task Force.

When agents ran Taylor’s history, they discovered that she had purchased a .357 glock, two .45 caliber handguns and one other .40 caliber handgun between Dec. 2011 and Oct. 6, 2012.

Taylor was confronted by agents, and she admitted that she had purchased the guns for a man she had known for about six years, Michael Gardiner. Thirty-one-year-old Gardiner is a felon who was convicted of multiple crimes between 2002 and 2010 and therefore, is not allowed to purchase guns.

“While they did not necessarily pull the trigger, they are both equally responsible for the bloodshed in our city,” said District Attorney Seth Williams.

Gardiner was arrested at his home at 7127 Yocum Street on Oct. 18, 2012 with two guns in his possession. Taylor is being held on $250,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 24.

The arrest of Taylor and Gardiner comes as a bill requiring a minimum five-year prison sentence for a straw purchaser, or a person who has no criminal record and buys a gun for someone who does, awaits Governor Corbett’s signature. Last week, Michael Henry was charged with making straw purchases of 9 weapons for killer Andrew Thomas, who then used one of the weapons to murder police officer Brad Fox before killing himself.

Taylor, who was arrested before the law goes into effect, is not facing the 5 year sentence, but officials want her arrest to serve as a message to other would-be straw purchasers.

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