This article was originally published on GoErie.com by Tim Hahn on May 31, 2017
A tip involving an Edinboro-area man that made its way from a local police department to the Pennsylvania State Police to authorities in Washington, D.C., “averted a potential disaster here in our nation’s capital,” the chief of the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington said Wednesday.
Bryan Moles, 43, who is believed to live in northern Crawford County, south of Edinboro, was in police custody in Washington Wednesday afternoon facing weapons charges after federal and local authorities said two guns and 90 rounds of ammunition were found in his vehicle early Wednesday morning.
Authorities would not comment Wednesday on what type of threat Moles posed, although a U.S. Secret Service official said during a news conference in Washington late Wednesday morning that agents determined after interviewing Moles that he posed no “immediate threat” to any Secret Service “protectees.”
The weapons and ammunition were found in Moles’ vehicle in the parking garage of the Old Post Office Tower/Trump International Hotel, 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, where Moles had checked in at about 1 a.m. Wednesday. Washington police officers observed one of the guns “in plain view” in Moles’ vehicle, and the other was located in the glove compartment, according to a police incident report. The items seized by police, according to the report, were a Glock 23 pistol and a Carbon 15 Bushmaster rifle, along with 30 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition and 60 rounds of .223 ammunition.
The vehicle was found, and the guns were observed, after the Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Secret Service “almost simultaneously” received information from the Pennsylvania State Police at about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday about an individual traveling to Washington, possibly to the Trump International Hotel, who was armed with weapons, Washington Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham said during the news conference.
Pennsylvania State Police received the information from a tipster, and the agency “acted very quickly” in passing along to authorities in Washington the suspect’s name and a description of his vehicle, Newsham said.
Cambridge Springs Police Chief Dorian Adamik said Wednesday that his department received a tip concerning Moles from a borough resident and referred the tipster to the Pennsylvania State Police in Meadville. Ryan Tarkowski, communications director for the state police, said the agency received “information” on Moles shortly after midnight and immediately contacted authorities in Washington. Tarkowski said he could not go into details about the information, but he said authorities in Washington “took the threat very seriously.”
The Washington Post quoted Dustin Sternbeck, the Metropolitan Police Department’s director of communications, in an online story Wednesday morning as saying the tip from an out-of-state law enforcement agency stated “that he had made threatening remarks.” Sternbeck was not more specific.
Police made contact with Moles inside the hotel. Following an interview and the location of the firearms, he was taken into custody and charged with two counts of carrying a gun without a license and one count of possession of unregistered ammunition, according to Sternbeck and the incident report.
Moles was being interviewed and was sharing information, Newsham said.
Information was not available Wednesday afternoon on when Moles would make his initial appearance in court on the charges.
Newsham said authorities in Washington are going to do a thorough examination to see if they can get to the motive as to why Moles went to Washington with the weapons.
“I can tell you this, I was very concerned about this circumstance, a very peculiar circumstance,” he said.
At this point, Newsham added, authorities don’t have enough information to charge Moles with making threats.
The chief called the quick actions of everyone involved in the incident, from the tipster to the law enforcement agencies that passed the information along, “really a success story” in getting the weapons.
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser thanked the efforts of everyone involved during Wednesday’s news conference, and said she was grateful that the incident was resolved without the use of force.
“Today’s incident is an important reminder that when you see something, it’s important to say something to an official,” Bowser said.