Convicted robber used girlfriend to buy guns in Wisconsin, claimed he was cop, feds say

Simione Dunn and Sonya Brown face charges in federal court in Chicago.

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The owner of this Wisconsin gun store says he sold guns to Sonya Brown, who was accompanied by a man who claimed he was a law-enforcement officer.

The owner of this Wisconsin gun store says he sold guns to Sonya Brown, who was accompanied by a man who claimed he was a law-enforcement officer.

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A convicted robber from Oak Park used his girlfriend to buy Glock pistols for him in Wisconsin, telling gun dealers he was a cop, the feds say.

Simione Dunn, 49, was on parole for attempted murder and armed robbery convictions. In 1998, according to court records, he slid on latex gloves and shot a man in the head during a holdup in Forest Park. Dunn was sentenced to 18 years in prison. He was paroled last June.

This year, from February to May, Dunn and 43-year-old girlfriend Sonya Brown went on a gun-buying spree in Wisconsin, according to an affidavit by a task force officer with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Brown was charged Monday with making a false statement to buy firearms and illegally transporting them across state lines, from Wisconsin to Illinois. Dunn is charged with illegally possessing a firearm as a felon.

Brown shopped mostly at gun shows, the affidavit said. She’s accused of being a “straw purchaser,” buying guns for someone else who’s banned from having them. Brown, who doesn’t have a felony record, had an Illinois firearm owners identification card that allowed her to possess guns.

Simione Dunn.

Simione Dunn.

Illinois Department of Corrections

On May 8, when authorities raided the Oak Park apartment where Brown and Dunn lived with her kids, Brown admitted she’d bought about 21 guns for Dunn, according to the ATF affidavit. She used a Wisconsin state ID with a fake address, authorities said.

A Wisconsin gun dealer told authorities Brown walked up to his table at a gun show and a man with her said they were both law enforcement officers and he was “a chief or sheriff of Brookfield or something similar to that.”

Another time, the same man accompanied Brown and handed the dealer a business card with an email address that included the words “money is power.”

According to the affidavit, the owner of Tom’s Military & Gun Shop in Fond du Lac, Wis., also said Brown was accompanied by a man who claimed he was a cop. The dealer said he sold guns to Brown on multiple occasions.

Brown told authorities she put the guns in the trunk of her Ford Escape and Dunn would drive around selling them in Chicago, the affidavit said.

Brown said they made about $1,000 per gun, according to the affidavit.

ATF Special Agent in Charge Christopher Amon meets with Chicago police interim Supt. Eric Carter last month to discuss crime-fighting strategies.

ATF Special Agent in Charge Christopher Amon meets with Chicago police interim Supt. Eric Carter last month to discuss crime-fighting strategies.

U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

On a national level, straw-purchasing cases are a priority for the government. The bipartisan federal Safer Communities Act that took effect last year created new specific federal criminal statutes banning straw purchases and gun trafficking — with harsh penalties of up to 15 years in prison. Dunn and Brown were charged under different, less punitive statutes.

In one of the most high-profile straw-purchasing cases in Chicago, Jamel Danzy was sentenced in December to 30 months in federal prison for buying the gun used to kill Chicago Police Officer Ella French.

Prosecutors had asked for a five-year sentence — the maximum under a pre-Safer Communities Act statute — but Judge Robert Gettleman took into consideration Danzy’s lack of a criminal record and difficult upbringing. The Fraternal Order of Police criticized the sentence for being too soft.

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