SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - U.S. Marshals say Paul McElwain knows how to avoid being caught. He does it by using fake documents. In one case, he used the identity of a family friend's dead baby to buy guns at a Springfield, Missouri Walmart Supercenter.
McElwain's convictions start in 1981 with Burglary in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was convicted for a second burglary in Phoenix, Arizona 17-years later. Either conviction meant McElwain would never own a firearm legally again, but prosecutors say that didn't stop him. Deputy U.S. Marshal Darren Lane said, "Skip ahead many years to 2006 here in Springfield, Missouri. In February of 2006, Mr. McElwain went into the Walmart Supercenter on East Kearney, and there he purchased a firearm. And he used the name, instead of using his real name, he used the name of Richard Beach, and he had a Social Security number and a date of birth and some identification to go along with that."
Investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives say McElwain stole the name Richard Beach from the baby of a family friend who died as an infant, and registered for he social security number in 1988. They obtained a search warrant from a judge and discovered several firearms. Lane said, "And eventually in 2006 he was charged with the federal crimes of being a felon in possession of firearms, interstate transportation of stolen firearms, and also some false identity, some identity theft charges for which he was indicted."
Federal court records show McElwain indicated he wanted to plead guilty to those charges, but he never showed up to a hearing.
Deputy Lane says if McElwain has assumed another identity, it would make apprehending him that much more difficult.
Paul McElwain is 5' 11", weighs 220 lbs., and has gray hair and green eyes. If you know where he is, call the U.S. Marshals at (417) 831-0588.