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Cleveland man who tried to steal pistol at Berea gun show sentenced to more than 12 years

October 4, 2018

Cleveland man who tried to steal pistol at Berea gun show sentenced to more than 12 years

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A Cleveland man was sentenced Thursday to 12 1/2 years in federal prison for trying to steal a gun from a gun show at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds in 2016, six days after committing a home invasion for which he is now serving 20 years.

A jury found Anthony Lett, 41, guilty of two weapons charges related to his trying to steal a Kahr Arms .45-caliber pistol from a gun show in Berea on April 30, 2016.

Authorities say he was at the gun show with others to try to steal weapons. In this case, he walked up to a vendor’s table, picked up the gun and tried to walk away.

The attempted theft was a few months after Lett was released from prison, and less than a week after he and another man forced their way into a home on East 127th Street in Cleveland and robbed a couple. A jury in Cuyahoga County found Lett guilty of attempted murder, kidnapping, aggravated robbery and other charges for his role in the home invasion, and a judge sentenced him to 20 years in prison.

Senior U.S. District Judge Donald Nugent on Thursday ran Lett’s federal sentence consecutive to the state one, bringing Lett’s total sentence to 32 1/2 years.

Calling him a “one-man crime wave,” Nugent noted that Lett has numerous drug and violent crime felonies for cases that go back to when he was 14 years old, and that none of that ever seemed to change Lett’s ways.

Lett, with his mother watching from the viewing gallery, described himself as “being a victim of circumstance” and said it was all “made up.” He also unsuccessfully tried to have attorney Rodger Pelagalli removed from his case, accusing him of being ineffective.

Nugent said that the legal work he saw Pelagalli do was up to par and noted that Pelagalli was Lett’s fourth court-appointed attorney.

“It seems like every time things start to go south for you, you move for a new lawyer,” Nugent said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Elliot Morrison said it was clear that Lett was “stealing those guns to feed his criminal lifestyle” and that he shuddered to think what would have happen had he been successful.

Authorities say Lett worked with other people at the gun show, including James Underwood, who pleaded guilty to an attempted burglary in Common Pleas Court.

Underwood, who also carried out the home invasion with Lett on April 24, 2016, is doing 25 years in state prison, serving time for several cases.

While Lett was in the Cuyahoga County Jail, investigators say former corrections officer Kamara Austin tried to smuggle heroin and pills inside for him. Austin, 45, pleaded guilty to a drug trafficking charge and was sentenced in November to two years in prison.

If you would like to comment on this story, please visit Thursday’s crime and courts comments section.

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