Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Missing gun mystery solved
Vogel calls it a misunderstanding

A missing handgun from the Monroe County State Attorney's Office in Key West has been found in a locked drawer in the Plantation Key offices.

The missing .40-caliber Glock that had been assigned in January 2010 to a former office investigator turned up Thursday in a desk drawer in outgoing State Attorney Dennis Ward's Upper Keys office, Ward said.

A Plantation Key State Attorney's Office worker was clearing out Ward's office when she came upon the locked drawer, found a key and discovered the handgun, Ward said.

Prosecutors in Key West were notified and they determined that it was the missing handgun, Ward said. Prosecutors filed a report in November with Key West police regarding the missing gun.

Ward said Monday he never used the locked drawer and that former State Attorney's Office investigator Anthony Pizzo placed the gun in the desk drawer when another investigator who carried it resigned nearly three years ago.

"Tony left and never brought the gun back down to Key West," Ward said.

Ward added he never had a key for the drawer and therefore never used the drawer during his four-year tenure as state attorney.

Thomas reported turning the gun in before he left the job and it now appears he was telling the truth, said State Attorney-elect Catherine Vogel -- who is scheduled to be sworn in today at 4 p.m. at the Freeman Justice Center in Key West.

Vogel called the situation a misunderstanding and that nothing criminal transpired.

"It appears to be purely a miscommunication in that somebody put the gun there and forgot about it," Vogel said. "There's nothing criminal about it." The handgun had been assigned to investigator Vicente Lopez who in turn loaned it to former investigator Eric Thomas -- who resigned in March 2010, Ward said.

Neither Thomas nor anyone else was ever charged with a crime regarding the missing gun.

alinhardt@keysnews.com

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