JOHNSTOWN - A man has pleaded guilty to stealing 72 guns from a central Pennsylvania gun store from which he was fired, which he sold to buy prescription painkillers.
Thirty-five-year-old Justin McElheny, of Irvona, faces sentencing June 27 before the same federal judge in Johnstown before whom he pleaded guilty Tuesday.
McElheny was fired from East Coast Gun Sales near Altoona - which has since gone out of business - in October 2011. State authorities charged him the following July with stealing 21 guns and money from the store and using customers' credit cards to buy guns.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives took over the investigation and McElheny was eventually charged with stealing 72 weapons since December 2007.
McElheny was allowed to remain free until he's sentenced.