MANCHESTER BY-THE-SEA — Chief Edward Conley reports that a Manchester Police Officer has resigned after the conclusion of an internal affairs investigation into the sale of a private firearm that was taken from the police department’s storage.
Howard Lewis was appointed a reserve officer in 2008 and a full-time officer in June 2010. He had been assigned to the 12-8 a.m. shift and served as the department’s primary firearms instructor when he was placed on Administrative leave on Dec. 15.
On Nov. 19, 2018, a Manchester-by-the Sea resident came to the police station to retrieve a firearm, a vintage German Luger, that had belonged to his father, which had been take for safekeeping by the police department at the request of the owner’s wife in 2014. However, no such firearm could be located at the police station.
A department-wide email was sent inquiring about the missing Luger, and an internal investigation was launched.
The investigation determined that Lewis sold the firearm through a licensed firearms dealer in Gloucester and received a check for $650. Faced with the evidence of the investigation, Lewis resigned from the department.
The Manchester-by-the-Sea Police Department has reimbursed the family for the loss of their firearm and formally apologized to them.
“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,” Chief Conley said. “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.”
The Essex District Attorney’s Office was consulted on this investigation.
Chief Conley, who was appointed in October 2016, also reports that there are no indications that any other firearms, evidence or other property is missing from the department.