Philadelphia Man Arrested for Alleged Straw Purchases and Solicitation of Murder


HARRISBURG, PA — Pennsylvania’s Attorney General Michelle Henry announced the arrest of 37-year-old Richard Taylor, accused of engaging in numerous straw purchases of firearms and the solicitation of a murder. The arrest is the result of an intensive investigation by the Philadelphia Gun Violence Task Force.

Taylor faces charges related to 31 alleged straw purchases, a method by which an individual buys firearms for someone who is legally prohibited from purchasing them themselves. These charges include 31 felony counts of violating the Uniform Firearms Act, alongside counts of false swearing and corrupt organizations. Furthermore, Taylor is charged with criminal solicitation of homicide among other related allegations. He was arraigned with bail set at $5 million (10 percent), which he has not posted.

The task force’s investigation has so far recovered 12 of the firearms purchased by Taylor across various locations in Philadelphia, with nine of these recoveries made during arrests. It’s alleged that Taylor did not report any of these firearms as lost or stolen, raising serious concerns about their intended use. While 14 of the firearms remain unaccounted for, the investigation continues to track down the remaining weapons.

Attorney General Henry emphasized the correlation between illegally obtained firearms and violent crimes, including deadly shootings. The arrest highlights the ongoing efforts of the Office of Attorney General, in partnership with law enforcement agencies, to address the proliferation of illegal firearms and the violence they facilitate.

According to the indictment, Taylor utilized gun shops and online platforms to acquire firearms, allegedly telling potential buyers that he could supply an unlimited number because of his clean criminal record. The charges further allege that Taylor attempted to hire a hitman last month, offering $200 and a Glock handgun as payment for the murder of an identified individual, whom he targeted through a straw purchase. Despite these grave allegations, the intended victim was not harmed.

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Taylor was apprehended following a transaction at Frank’s Gun Shop in Philadelphia on April 26. His arrest underscores the crucial work of the Philadelphia Gun Violence Task Force, which collaborates with local, state, and federal agencies to curtail the illegal transfer and possession of firearms.

In the previous year alone, the Task Force confiscated over 500 firearms and participated in nearly 400 investigations, demonstrating a steadfast dedication to combating gun violence in Philadelphia.

As this case progresses, it’s important to remember that these charges are merely accusations, and Taylor, like all defendants, is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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