Washington County, Va. Sheriff’s Office investigators are trying to confirm whether a stolen gun found in Camden, New Jersey is actually one of their weapons. We alerted the agency about the possible link after we analyzed local and national gun data.
“Right now, we’re in a position of waiting to hear back from them whether or not it is the one we had reported,” Capt. Scott Snapp said. “It would’ve been nice if we had known.”
Our investigation found a man in New Jersey is now serving prison time for drug crimes and illegally possessing a gun with the same make, model and serial number as the one reported stolen by an off-duty sheriff’s officer in 2011 in Johnson City.
The officer, who no longer works for the department, reported the gun missing from her glove compartment in November 2011. Johnson City police investigated and secure an initial lead, but later encouraged Washington County to file a report in Virginia since investigators could not identify exactly where or when the gun disappeared, according to a police report and JCPD Maj. Karl Turner.
Using stolen gun records collected by News Channel 11 and recovered weapons data collected by The Trace, a non-profit, and the National Broadcasting Company, we linked an identical gun with the same serial number to the March 2016 arrest in Camden.
“Obviously, if it is is a piece of property that would have been part of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, obviously, we want it back to our agency,” Capt. Snapp said. “The worst case is for it to be out there and someone get hurt with it. We don’t want to see that happen.”
According to a Camden County Police Department warrant probable cause statement, police responded to a report of gunfire, found two men drinking and discovered the gun in one of the men’s possession.
“The defendant is a danger to themselves and or the community,” the court document said.
In November, our investigation identified a stolen police gun out of Elizabethton used in a violent Johnson City crime. The Elizabethton Police Department did not know about the link until we alerted the agency, according to the chief.
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