Holyoke officer reports service weapon missing from vehicle while off-duty in Chicopee

  • GAZETTE FILE PHOTO GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 11/24/2021 2:53:18 PM

HOLYOKE— A Holyoke police officer recently reported that his police department gun was missing from his car in Chicopee.

In a statement Tuesday, John Dolan, a member of Mayor Joshua Garcia’s staff, confirmed that on Nov. 19 at around 6 p.m. an off-duty Holyoke Police Department officer reported his service weapon missing from his personal vehicle in Chicopee.

“We cannot release the officer’s name at this time,” Dolan said, citing an ongoing internal investigation into the matter.

Holyoke Police Department Capt. Matthew Moriarty confirmed that the Chicopee Police Department is investigating the incident but offered few other details.

“The Holyoke Police Department is cooperating fully with said investigation,” Moriarty said. “As of now, this is a personnel issue. The involved Officer has been placed on administrative interior duty, pending the findings of the investigation.”

Moriarty said that the Police Department would not make any further comments.

Messages left with the Chicopee Police Department’s public information officer and records department were not returned on Wednesday.

This is not the first time that Holyoke police officers have lost guns and other equipment.

Earlier this year, former police chief Manny Febo confirmed that an officer had his car broken into in South Hadley. He said that two ballistic vests with two magazines in the pouches were stolen from the car, along with “some K9 gear” and a first-aid bag. Some, though not all, of those items were later found in a car that was stolen from Granby and recovered in Hartford, Connecticut, Febo said.

In September 2011, the Republican reported that Holyoke police Sgt. John Hart — now a lieutenant in the department — was suspended for five days and fined for losing a department-issued sniper rifle. At the time, then-police chief James Neiswanger said the weapon had fallen out of Hart’s pickup truck. Police said they found the weapon in February 2012 while then-mayor Alex Morse was riding along with officers on duty. Neiswanger said that a tipster found the gun in an alley and that the mayor’s presence was a coincidence.

In 2014, Hart was again suspended without pay, this time for 10 days after leaving his gun in a restroom at the Holyoke Mall, according to the Republican. The gun was recovered. 

Dusty Christensen can be reached at dchristensen@gazettenet.com.

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