, Corbin, KY

June 17, 2013

Man gets 10 years for crime spree

The Times-Tribune

CORBIN — By John L. Ross / Staff Writer

Ten years in federal prison — that’s the sentence handed down to a man involved in a multi-state crime spree last fall.

Thomas William Bunn, 26, appeared before U.S. District Judge Danny C. Reeves Friday morning in federal court to hear he received the maximum time allowable from Reeves.

Bunn pleaded guilty to federal charges of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon as part of a plea agreement in February.

However, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Senior Special Agent Todd Tremaine said Reeves “did something interesting” during Friday’s sentencing hearing.

In April, Bunn pleaded guilty in Whitley County Circuit Court to two counts of first-degree fleeing or evading police and one count of first-degree criminal mischief. For those charges he received a nine-year sentence.

At that time, it was decided that Bunn’s state sentence would run concurrent with any federal sentencing.

Tremaine said Reeves “rejected that thought.”

Instead, Reeves ruled that one year of Bunn’s 10-year sentence would be served concurrently with his state time.

Then the remaining nine years would be served at the conclusion of his state prison term.

Tremaine said Reeves ordered Bunn be remanded to state custody to begin his state sentence.

Reeves added that any sentence Bunn might receive in Florida, Louisiana or other state in relation to this crime spree be served consecutively to his 10-year federal sentence.

Bunn can only appeal the sentence — the plea agreement states he cannot appeal the guilty plea or the conviction itself.

In February, Reeves asked Bunn how he garnered the federal charges.

“(I) stole the gun out of Florida,” Bunn said. “Then I (came across) the interstate with it — that (was) what made it (the charges) interstate commerce.”

But Bunn likely faces further charges.

According to an affidavit submitted by Tremaine, Bunn’s crime spree began soon after his August 2012 release from a Louisiana correctional facility for felony bank fraud charges.

Bunn absconded from his parole in mid-October. At that same time, St. Tammany Parish, La. sheriff’s detectives were investigating two residential burglaries near Bunn’s residence, one of which Bunn admitted he was the driver.

Through their investigation into the burglaries, St. Tammany Parish detectives learned Bunn was driving a truck registered to his father, who requested a tracking device be placed on the vehicle.

That led detectives to Florida.

The truck then ended up in Jackson County, Fla. On Oct. 22, a burglary was reported in that county, during which a Tactical Weapons Solutions AR-15, .223-caliber rifle was reported stolen.

That’s the weapon which landed Bunn the federal charge.

Tremaine stated in the affidavit that during questioning, Bunn admitted he was running out of money in Florida and burglarized a home there.

That’s when the Louisiana detectives turned their focus to an online database called “LEADS,” which allows law enforcement officials nationwide to see if stolen weapons end up in pawn shops.

Which then led detectives to Williamsburg, where the LEADS database showed the stolen rifle appeared in the Fast Cash Pawn Shop. Williamsburg Chief of Police Wayne Bird advised that gun has been pawned by Bunn for $300.

But Bunn’s crime spree was not yet over.

On Oct. 29, 2012, Corbin Police were dispatched to the Days Inn at the south I-75 exit to investigate reports of a suspicious vehicle. Patrolman Kyle Gray found the vehicle in question, and when he went to question the driver, that driver fled the scene.

Police pursued the vehicle onto northbound I-75, where the driver led law enforcement on a 24-mile high-speed chase, at times reaching speeds exceeding 100 mph.

The vehicle chase ended about Exit 49, but not before the driver damaged or disabled five law enforcement vehicles. The driver abandoned the vehicle and fled into the woods on foot.

A search of the abandoned vehicle, a truck, uncovered a pawn ticket for the AR-15 with Bunn’s name and address listed, as well as 20 rounds of ammunition for the weapon. Corbin Police Detective Rusty Hedrick received information from a confidential informant that Bunn was staying at a Whitley County residence, where he was arrested.

Corbin Police charged Bunn with 15 counts of first-degree wanton endangerment to officers, three counts of first-degree criminal mischief and one count each of fleeing or evading police by motor vehicle, first-degree fleeing or evading police by foot, speeding 26 mph or more over the posted speed limit and reckless driving.

Bunn already has three felony convictions under his belt. Two convictions came in 2004, one for possession of cocaine and the other for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. His third felony conviction of bank fraud came in 2009.

Bunn remains jailed at the Whitley County Detention Center.