Two northern Lancaster County men are facing felony charges after police said one of them bought an assault rifle at a store in Mount Joy Township on the other’s behalf and falsely stated on a form that he was the true purchaser.
Police said Josiah Matthew Beckett, 35, of North Third Street near Walnut Street in Denver Borough, bought the gun on behalf of Akash Gaurang Mody, 34, of Clearview Avenue near Academy Drive in Ephrata Borough on Feb. 8, 2015. Police said the two men worked together at a Wal-Mart store and Beckett made the purchase because Mody’s driver’s license was expired at the time.
Both men are charged with the third-degree felonies of materially false written statement regarding purchase, delivery, transfer of firearm and conspiracy to deliver firearm after 48 hours elapsed. Police obtained an arrest warrant for Beckett; Mody is free on unsecured bail while awaiting a preliminary hearing scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 9. Court records did not list a lawyer for him.
Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Robert Norton described the alleged acts in sworn statements filed in court. Norton wrote the FBI got a tip in May from someone who said he was an acquaintance of Mody’s who said “the defendant talked about his hatred for Jewish people and his actions and threatening comments concerned the source.” The source also told the FBI that Mody owned firearms and he was aware of a time when Mody had someone else buy an AK-47 rifle for him because he did not have valid identification.
Norton went on to write in court papers that on or about July 2, the FBI interviewed Mody at his home and he “denied having any intention of harming Jewish people but did admit to owning firearms.” Norton said Mody told the FBI that he had Beckett buy an AK-47 rifle from the Trop Gun Shop for him because his driver’s license had expired.
On Aug. 9, the FBI interviewed Beckett, Norton wrote in court papers. Beckett eventually admitted to buying the rifle for Mody because Mody’s driver’s license was expired and said that Mody had been slowly paying him back, but had since stopped paying on the debt and still owed Beckett about $350, according to Norton’s sworn statement. Norton went on to write that Beckett also told the FBI that the rifle wasn’t a gift for Mody.
Norton wrote that he met with the FBI investigators on Nov. 2 and got reports on what they found. He said in his sworn statement that he confirmed that Mody’s driver’s license expired in November 2014 and he did not have a valid license again until June 1, 2015. Norton wrote that he went to the Trop Gun Shop in Mount Joy Township on Nov. 6 and got a federal firearms transfer form for the sale of a rifle to Beckett on Feb. 8, 2015. On the form, Beckett answered “yes” to the question, “Are you the actual transferee/buyer of the firearm(s) listed on this form” and gave a warning explaining the question.