Manchester-by-the-Sea police officer resigns after probe finds he sold antique gun stolen from station

MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, MASS. (WHDH) - A Manchester-by-the-Sea police officer has resigned after an internal affairs investigation determined he stole a firearm from the police station and sold it to a private gun owner for $650, officials said.

Howard Lewis, who had been appointed as a reserve officer in 2008 and a full-time officer in 2010, had been assigned to the 12 to 8 a.m. shift and served as the department’s primary firearms instructor when he was placed on administrative leave amid an internal affairs investigation on Dec. 15, according to Manchester-by-the-Sea Police Chief Edward Conley.

The investigation was launched after a town resident who went to the police station on Nov. 19 to pick up a vintage German Lugar that had belonged to his father and was being stored for safekeeping at the police station found that it was missing.

Investigators later found evidence showing Lewis sold the gun through a licensed firearms dealer in Gloucester for $650.

Faced with the evidence, Lewis resigned from the department.

The family has since been reimbursed for the loss of their firearm, Conley said.

“In this instance, an officer circumvented the department’s evidence system by failing to report that he was in possession of private property and then selling that property for his own gain,” Conley said in a statement. “This action violated the public trust and violated the very mission of the Manchester Police Department, and I am satisfied with the outcome. I again extend my sincere apology to the family who was affected by these actions.”

Conley said there is no evidence to suggest that any other weapons are missing from the department.

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