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Trio receives sentences for 2013 robbery

POSTED: April 17, 2014 8:45 p.m.

Two men and a woman who pled guilty to the April 2013 break-in of a Rincon home received their sentences Wednesday in U.S. District Court.

Judge B. Avant Edenfield sentenced James Seyfried, 55, and Finlandia Pineda, 56, from Palm Coast, Fla., and Elaine Taylor, 61, from Alma. Each also pled guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Seyfriend will serve 10 years in prison. Pineda was sentenced to nine years and seven months, and Taylor was given a 70-month sentence.

All three will serve three years of supervised release upon their release from prison.

Taylor, a felon who had been convicted multiple times, received information that a Rincon resident had a number of safes in his Hickory Knob subdivision home containing cash, firearms and other items. Taylor recruited Seyfried and Pineda, also repeat felons, in a conspiracy to burglarize the Rincon home.

On April 15, 2013, the defendants stole the safes from the Rincon home and took them to Florida.  Once in Florida, the defendants were able to open the safes, which contained 16 firearms, including fully automatic rifles (machine guns) and semi-automatic firearms, as well as silencers, smoke grenades and thousands of dollars in cash.

Effingham County Sheriff’s Office investigators believed multiple people were involved in the break-in and robbery because of the number and weight of the safes. The homeowner also offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrests and convictions.

“The combination of repeat offenders with multiple felony convictions and home burglaries makes for a volatile situation, particularly when firearms are the target,” said U.S. Attorney Edward J. Tarver. “Thanks to the quick work of our law enforcement partners, a number of stolen firearms did not end up in our communities to be used in the commission of additional crimes.  Dangerous felons who have failed attempts at rehabilitation, continue to commit crimes and possess firearms should do hard time for a long time in a federal prison.”

Said J. Britt Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta: “The FBI-led Southeast Georgia Violent Crime Task Force is pleased with the role it played in removing three dangerous repeat offenders from our streets while recovering numerous firearms, including several fully automatic machine guns.  With the establishment of this task force, area law enforcement are better prepared to address those more violent individuals in a more comprehensive and effective manner as seen here.”

Taylor’s criminal history includes over 100 felony convictions, including convictions for tax fraud, counterfeiting, and an aggravated assault. Seyfried, who was on federal-supervised release at the time of the burglary, has felony convictions that include cocaine trafficking and possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. Pineda’s criminal history includes a murder-for-hire conviction, where she attempted to hire a hit man to murder Seyfried, her husband at the time.

The investigation of this case was conducted by the FBI Safe Streets Violent Crime Task Force of Southeast Georgia, which was assisted by the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office and the Bacon County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys E. Greg Gilluly Jr. and T. Shane Mayes prosecuted the case on behalf of the government.

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