Monroeville police officer's gun, Taser found

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A man involved in a minor car crash on the Parkway East Sunday morning found the missing gun and Taser lost by a Monroeville police officer late Saturday night.

Chief Steven Pascarella said one of his officers put his utility belt -- including his service weapon, ammunition and flashlight -- on the bed cover of his pickup truck after finishing his shift about 11 p.m. and forgot they were on there and drove off.

He realized they were missing when he got home.

Chief Pascarella said his reaction was one of anger, disappointment and disbelief.

"You have got to exercise that care and control," he said. "I understand there's no intent, and it's a mistake."

Officers from the department spent all night Saturday and into the day Sunday retracing the route and trying to find the .45-caliber Smith & Wesson semi-automatic pistol, the chief said.

Officers found some of the belt's components during their search, but not the gun and Taser, which were both still in the police-issued holster when found.

The man who found them had a minor accident on the highway early Sunday and came across the utility belt when looking for debris from the crash, Chief Pascarella said.

The man told police he put the items in his trunk and forgot about them until he was alerted about the missing weapons on the news Monday afternoon.

The only item not recovered, the chief said, was the officer's $100 flashlight.

The officer, whose name he did not release, is on probation and therefore an at-will employee. He has only been with the department a couple months and previously served with the city of Pittsburgh.

That officer is off today and will meet with the chief on Wednesday. Any discipline will be recommended by the chief and must approved by the borough manager.

mobilehome - breaking - region - neigh_east

Molly Born: mborn@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1944 and on Twitter: @borntolede. First Published July 8, 2013 2:30 PM


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