Grand Rapids man sentenced to 42 years for stealing guns, witness retaliation, arson, and drug crimes

GRAND RAPIDS — U.S. District Judge Janet T. Neff sentenced Charles Edward Skipp of Grand Rapids to 42 years in prison, announced U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge.

Skipp pleaded guilty to 10 felony offenses in February 2020, which included being a felon in possession of firearms, stealing firearms from a licensed firearm dealer, retaliating against a witness, discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, knowing transfer of firearms for use in a crime of violence, aiding and abetting retaliating against an informant, aiding and abetting arson in the commission of a federal felony, attempted possession with intent to distribute heroin, discharging a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime, and knowing transfer of a firearm for use in a drug trafficking crime.

When imposing the 42-year sentence, Judge Neff referred to Skipp as a “one man crime spree.”

Skipp stole 89 guns from Family Farm & Home in Cedar Springs in 2017. He attempted to cover his tracks by intimidating and retaliating against a witness to the theft, which included shooting at the witnesses’ house and later setting it on fire. Skipp also used one of the stolen guns to rob and shoot a drug dealer. Many of the stolen firearms remain unaccounted for and law enforcement is still attempting to locate them.

Before his latest crimes, Skipp had prior convictions for carrying a concealed weapon, reckless discharge of a firearm causing injury, armed robbery, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and domestic assault.

“This sentence represents good news for the community, which is much safer with Mr.

Skipp in prison. And the 42-year sentence sends an unmistakable message to anyone else who might embark on a way of life in which one dangerous crime begets another and so on: Your spree will end with you in prison for decades; so don’t even start,” commented U.S. Attorney Birge.

“We often underestimate the enormous impact one lawless person can have in our community,” stated James Deir, Special Agent in Charge for ATF’s Detroit Field Division.

“We all deserve to feel safe working and living in our community. Through hard work with our law enforcement partners in the Grand Rapids area, we have removed this violent criminal from our streets, so that we all can feel safer going about our daily lives.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives worked with the Grand Rapids Police and Kent County Sheriff’s Departments to investigate this case as part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods, a nationwide initiative to reduce violent crime.

As part of this initiative, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, county prosecutors’ offices, and federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement work closely together to identify and prosecute individuals responsible for driving violent crime in our communities to make neighborhoods safer for everyone.

Individuals with information or concerns about violent crime or firearms offenses should contact local law enforcement.

For more information about Project Safe Neighborhoods, visit: https://www.justice.gov/psn.


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