A convicted felon known as “Batman” pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal firearm offenses and admitted to brokering more than 70 illegal gun transactions, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.
John Thomas, 33, pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and dealing firearms without a license, officials said in a news release. Thomas was previously convicted of a felony and was not legally authorized to have a gun, officials said.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Thomas caught the attention of federal investigators during a larger operation that has netted 100 recovered guns in Chicago that involved “controlled firearm sales to cooperating individuals.”
“Illegally brokering the sale of guns on the streets of Chicago poses a tremendous danger to the community,” said acting U.S. Attorney Joel Levin. “Prosecuting firearms offenses is a top priority in our office, and we will continue our efforts to disrupt the availability of illegal guns in our city.”
Some of the guns Thomas has admitted to selling had “obliterated” serial numbers, officials said, or had been reported stolen. The plea agreement states that Thomas either got the guns himself or arranged deals between owners and buyers, accepting a fee for brokering the transaction. Some of those individuals were cooperating with law enforcement, officials said.
Thomas brokered the sale of two .38-caliber revolvers between a man identified as “Individual A” in court records along with Jamel Davis and a cooperating individual, officials said. The exchange took place in Davis’ garage, officials said, in the 7600 block of South Seeley Avenue.
The plea agreement details multiple other instances of Thomas selling guns he had obtained from other individuals across state lines with defaced serial numbers.
The guns listed in the plea agreement provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office range from older-model bolt action rifles and semi-automatic handguns to civilian versions of military-style rifles, such as a the Colt Sporter Match HBAR .223 caliber rifle.
Thomas’ criminal history is also detailed in the in the plea agreement. A half dozen convictions over the past decade range from possession of marijuana and unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon to battery, aggravated assault and trespassing to a vehicle as well as aggravated driving under the influence.
Thomas has a sentencing hearing on June 30.