LAPD gun store employee steals guns, gets probation

| November 29, 2021

This case is a textbook example of why we shouldn’t look to government to fix our healthcare woes. My headline is less sensational than the LA Times, but it gets to the heart of the problem. The guy at the head of this illegal gun scheme (which involves many cops apparently, though none are yet charged) gets probation. And the Left wonders why we think gun laws are ineffective.

How the theft of 44 firearms from an L.A. gun store exploded into an LAPD scandal

From the LA Times;

Before it all came crashing down, Archi Duenas’ gun-stealing scheme was relatively simple, county prosecutors wrote in a memo. He just couldn’t go on vacation.

Duenas, manager of the gun store at the Los Angeles Police Academy, had been reprimanded over the years for tardiness and sloppy record keeping, but he never took time off, according to the memo. As the store’s closing supervisor, he was there each night to lock up — and hand count the inventory.

If someone else had been assigned that count, they might have discovered that dozens of guns were missing and that Duenas was stealing them and selling them for cash, prosecutors wrote in the memo. But since he was always there, the Los Angeles Police Revolver and Athletic Club was apparently none the wiser.

This went on for years, prosecutors wrote, facilitated by a lack of oversight and safety protocols that are considered standard in other gun stores.

Then, in February 2020, Duenas’ bosses told him he had accrued the “maximum allowable leave hours” and had to take time off, prosecutors wrote in the memo. When he did, another manager finally made the startling discovery: Boxes meant to have guns in them were actually empty.

The resulting investigation quickly led to Duenas’ arrest. But it also uncovered a larger scandal inside the LAPD: The clientele for Duenas’ stolen weapons included cops.

LAPD and L.A. County District Attorney records and interviews by The Times show that what started out as a probe into Duenas has spiraled in the last year and a half, spurring a cascade of allegations of criminal activity, misconduct and corruption on the part of officers and commanders.

There are also dueling claims by some of the accused officers that they have been scapegoated by overzealous investigators despite doing nothing wrong and being victims themselves — not only of Duenas’ deception, but of years of negligence on the part of the LAPD to ensure proper management of the gun store, which it directed officers to use.

That alleged neglect, according to a pending claim against the city from one officer, came despite the fact that the LAPD was aware for years of “prior negligence and mismanagement issues related to the sale, tracking, and documentation of firearms and firearm transactions” by gun store personnel.

The case raises red flags about the LAPD’s oversight of the gun store and its ability to investigate its own officers. It also offers an eye-opening window into the gun culture within the LAPD and the degree to which LAPD officers are allegedly profiting off the sale of firearms — including “off roster” guns that police officers have special access to despite their being declared unsafe for commercial sale in the state.

Investigators alleged LAPD officers, including several who are still on the job, knowingly purchased stolen weapons from Duenas, bought and sold much larger numbers of firearms in questionable ways, and dangerously stored loaded guns in places accessible to children, according to internal police records.

Top commanders, meanwhile, have been accused by the captain who initially oversaw the investigation of purposefully impeding the work of her detectives and assisting those in their crosshairs, including by forcing investigators to interview a high-ranking captain whom they suspected of wrongdoing before they were prepared to do so, and by ushering that same captain into his home — armed and in uniform — while investigators with a warrant were searching it, internal LAPD records show.

“The facts speak for themselves,” wrote Capt. Lillian Carranza, who oversees the LAPD’s commercial crimes division, in an April email to other top officials. “There have been several attempts to shut down this investigation.”

LAPD officials have denied that claim and said the investigation has been handled with the utmost integrity, with detectives following every lead and their work undergoing multiple levels of review.

No officers have been criminally convicted in the case, but one faces a gun charge in Long Beach — which he denies — and several have had criminal cases presented against them to prosecutors. Some of the investigations are ongoing.

Much more at the source. The LA Times points to five police officers (four of the LAPD and one deputy of the LASD) as being allegedly involved, but they note that three of those officers have already had charges refused by the DA. Which is telling, because the LA County District Attorney is decidedly not law enforcement friendly. The DA, George Cascon, promised to reopen formerly cleared cases of “controversial” police use of force going back to 2015 when he took office last year.

Returning to the article;

“In sum, the reasonable inference to be drawn from a totality of the evidence in this case is that the officers thought they were purchasing legal firearms at a cash discount, and not acquiring stolen guns,” prosecutors wrote.

You gotta work your way deep into the article to get to that point. It’s even more galling that this is the gun shop the department directs staff to use. At issue in the article, and not explained until late, are “off-roster” firearms. California, being California, enacted their own firearms standards. This requires any handgun being sold in the state to meet their local requirements. This drives up costs considerably. An on-roster pistol in CA is significantly more than in other states.

There exists an exception to the purchase of pistols not on the state’s approved roster, so-called “off-roster” guns. Law enforcement officers can buy them from any gun dealer in the state that stocks them. Since they haven’t received the CA roster markup, they’re much cheaper. There has developed something of a cottage industry of questionable transactions in these off-roster guns because of this. Cops have been known to buy the cheap guns, use them for a while, and then sell them person-to-person to a non-law enforcement party. There’s a gun price listed in the article that retails for $5k, the cop is being offered it internally for $3,200. If said cop then sells it at anything close to open CA market value, they can make a tidy profit.

If I understand California code, this is legal, but crosses into some highly questionable territory. Particularly if done repeatedly. Towards the end of the article, the Times points to several cases of this in the last decade.

If only Duenas hadn’t been forced to take vacation. I can’t wait for the same people who think it’s a good idea to have only a single person do inventory on a whole firearms store for years to decide when I can be approved for an MRI.

Category: Crime, Dick Stepping, Guns, Police

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Anonymous

Hey, wasn’t this the premise (at least for the bad guy) in Lethal Weapon III?

Roh-Dog

OMG! WTF? YGTBSM?!

It’s almost like if you create a status of people that can operate above the law that they’ll do just that… like, a lot. coughhillarycough

Maybe its time for those geniuses in Sacramental to change the firearms laws so breaking them isn’t so freaking profitable… especially for the cops?

Anonymous

Bet they’re good Democrats, comrade! (Hey, Lars, why does socialism breed this?)

KoB

LAPD Logo going from “To Serve and Protect” (btw they started that trend for police vehicles) to, “To Steal and Pilfer”

Joe Friday weeps.

AW1Ed

I’m not sure which is more astonishing- the brass balls of Archi Duenas for ripping off LAPD’s firearms for so long, or LAPD’s gross incompetence in allowing it.

UpNorth

Ole Archi just did what he could get away with. For years!!
I wonder how many captains or lieutenants were in nominal charge of the gun store over the years that probably couldn’t find the gun store with a map, flashlight and a marked trail to the door.

5JC

LA Police are corrupt? Next you will be saying that NOLA and Chicago Police are corrupt too.

rgr769

Or that the DOJ and its Fan Belt Inspectors are corrupt.

5JC

unpossible…. those guys are like “fact checkers”, incorruptible.

Graybeard

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Andy11M

Didn’t something like this happen before at the LAPD gun club? Stealing/selling guns out the back door? Guess nobody learned anything. I spent 16 months trapped in a company arms room when I was a specialist, and the amount of people lining up from BN to Corp HQ all wanting a turn at inspecting my arms room during that time was staggering. But it all made sense, 2 months after I ETSed the guy that… Read more »

rgr769

There was a similar case about six or seven years ago in Sacramento, CA where a LEO or two were doing the same thing. They were buying AR’s and other “off list guns” that could not be sold to the general public and then reselling them for a substantial profit. They were charged and fired but I never heard what was their criminal punishment. Likely, it was probation.

A Proud Infidel®™

All too often big city LE types are NOT your friend and IMHO Duenas was only the one who was sloppy enough to get caught even with higher-ups greasing the skids for him.

USMC Steve

This should not really be surprising to anyone. Remember that the police force is pretty much pulled from the local populace, so take a look at that massively jacked up and morally bankrupt area. To expect to pull great specimens of law and order out of Los Angeles is pretty unrealistic. I am only surprised that it was not drugs or nuclear waste or something worse.

Andy11M

Actually the LAPD was recruiting here in the Midwest a few years ago because the pool of candidates in Comifornia couldn’t even meet the lowered standards with wavers for anything and everything.