Cops seize “arsenal” from Loop apartment — but man’s charged with possessing 9 bullets. Here’s why.

Chicago police seized these items during a raid on a Loop apartment on December 14, 2020. | CPD

Update December 30 — CPD Supt. David Brown has deleted the tweet referenced below. A nearly-identical tweet from CPD’s official Twitter account has also been removed.

Chicago police seized a trove of guns and ammunition while executing two search warrants at a Loop apartment building in recent days.

“Felony gun charges approved,” CPD Supt. David Brown said in a tweet Wednesday that included four pictures of “an arsenal of high-powered rifles, handguns and ammo” allegedly found during the second raid.

But, CWBChicago has learned, no gun charges have actually been filed in the case. The single felony charge approved so far involves the alleged possession of nine bullets. More charges may be coming, however.

Christopher Cunningham | CPD

What’s the deal? CPD declined to answer questions about the search warrants, the weapons, and the limited charges. So, we did some digging. Here’s what we found out.

Police first went to the apartment building at 618 South Wabash on the evening of December 10 after receiving information that a man with an active arrest warrant was in the lobby. Cops arrested 35-year-old Christopher Cunningham on the sheriff’s department warrant.

Then, they went back to the building to execute a search warrant on his apartment and a UPS package addressed to Cunningham that had been set aside in the management office, according to a CPD report and prosecutors.

Inside the box from Guncrafter Industries were 80 rounds of 50-caliber ammunition, two ammunition magazines, and a packing slip bearing Cunningham’s name, according to police records. Nine rounds of 45-caliber ammunition were allegedly found in Cunningham’s apartment, where he reportedly lives alone.

Prosecutors charged him with unlawful use of a weapon by a felon for the nine bullets police allegedly found in his apartment. They also charged him with misdemeanor attempted unlawful use of a weapon by a felon for the mail order ammunition.

He was held without bail on the probation violation warrant that led to his arrest in the building lobby. Judge David Navarro set bail in the new case at $25,000. Cunningham will need to post a $2,500 deposit bond to get out after the probation matter is resolved.

On Monday, police executed another search warrant in the building. CPD declined to comment on the details of the raid, but a source said cops targeted the apartment of Cunningham’s next-door neighbor. The man who lives there hadn’t been home in several weeks and reportedly left his keys with a neighbor — but CWBChicago could not confirm if that neighbor is Cunningham.

Inside the second apartment, police found the collection of weapons and loaded ammunition magazines that Brown showed in his tweet. Among the weapons were two 50-caliber rifles, according to the source.

A closer look at the photos Brown shared reveals that most of the guns are in two or three pieces. Some of the guns bear “Guncrafter Industries” imprints.

But most of the guns seized were not fully assembled — so-called “80%” weapons that fall just short of the federal legal definition of a firearm, the source said. The kits are easy to purchase online, and the parts do not have serial numbers because they aren’t legally guns — until someone finishes the assembly.

Chicago police and federal agencies, including the Joint Terrorism Task Force, looked into the weapons cache. All of the seized items are being fingerprinted to see if investigators can determine who was working to assemble them.

CPD inventory records show that police seized an 80% firearm box from Cunningham’s own apartment during their December 10 search.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com