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Motorist Caught with Concealed, Altered Gun Sent to Prison

December 15, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kathleen Byrne, 215.348.6366, kgbyrne@buckscounty.org

A Philadelphia man who refused to explain to a judge why he had a handgun with an obliterated serial number in the glove box of his car was sentenced to prison Tuesday in Bucks County Common Pleas Court.

Nathaniel Curtis, 21, was ordered to serve nine to 23 months in the Bucks County Correctional Facility by Judge Raymond F. McHugh for possessing a firearm with an altered manufacturer’s number.

McHugh also sentenced Curtis to three years of concurrent probation for possessing a concealed weapon without a permit. Any misconduct or violations could land him in state prison, McHugh said..

“I have an obligation to protect the public, and people who carry handguns with obliterated serial numbers are a danger to the public,” the judge told Curtis.

Curtis, 21, was arrested in January by Bensalem Township police outside the Neshaminy Inn at 2345 Old Lincoln Highway. Curtis had been arguing with the desk clerk over a bill before leaving, almost striking two other vehicles with his car while departing.

Officer Robert Schwarting pulled him over in front of the motel, smelled marijuana and saw a small amount of the drug inside the car. Curtis struggled with police until officers warned that he would be subdued with a Taser if he did not stop resisting.

A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed a Smith and Wesson 380 semiautomatic handgun, loaded with six rounds, inside the locked glove box. The serial number on the gun had been obliterated. Curtis did not have a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

After a bench trial in November, McHugh found Curtis guilty of two felony firearms offenses, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, and driving with a suspended or revoked license. Curtis was acquitted of resisting arrest.

At Tuesday’s sentencing, Curtis and his family asked that McHugh consider probation, given Curtis’ lack of a criminal record and his need to support his fiancée and their 3-year-old son.

McHugh refused the request after trying and failing repeatedly to get Curtis to explain the reason the gun was in his car.

“You don’t even want to admit to me that you had a gun,” the exasperated judge said. “I just can’t ignore your failure to take responsibility for having the gun.”

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Kathleen Byrne.

Approved for release by Gregg Shore, Deputy District Attorney.

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