BURLINGTON — A Bellows Falls woman, who bought a firearm at a local store for a multi-time convicted felon, has been placed on federal probation for two years.
Bridgette Lawlor, 34, avoided a prison sentence when she was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Burlington on Thursday afternoon.
She had pleaded guilty to one felony count of making a false written statement during the acquisition of a firearm at J&H Guns on The Square on March 23, 2020. Lawlor claimed the Ruger .380 pistol was for her when she knew she was actually buying the gun at the request of her then-boyfriend, Ferdinand “Feldi” Cruz, 40, of Bellows Falls.
Cruz has multiple felony convictions, according to court records. One affidavit noted he has convictions for robbery, unlawful restraint, burglary and two counts of felony illegal sale of drugs/narcotics, including cocaine in Connecticut. Another document notes only four felony convictions. Anyway he is not allowed to have any firearms.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara A. Masterson noted Lawlor could have reevaluated her bad decision; she returned to J&H Guns on April 1, 2020 to pick up the firearm and later she turned it over to Cruz.
Federal Judge Christina Reiss ordered the criminal forfeiture of two firearms that were seized during the investigation. The other firearm was a Taurus 9-mm caliber pistol.
Reiss also sentenced Cruz last month to 15 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to being a convicted felon found in possession of two firearms between April 1 and May 18, 2020. Reiss also ordered Cruz to pay a $100 special assessment and told him he would be under federal supervised release for 3 years once he is discharged from prison.
Dover Police sparked the gun prosecution after its unrelated criminal investigation into a lewd conduct with a child complaint against Cruz, court records show.
Dover Detective Rebecca Morris and Sgt. Michael Arbogast went to interview Cruz and found him wearing the .380 caliber pistol on his waistband, but were unaware of his felony record. When they later went back to arrest Cruz on the lewd conduct charge on May 18, 2020, they were able to seize both the .380 caliber pistol at his apartment, but also the 9-mm pistol, records show.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also helped obtain the indictment against the pair.