Ex-Missouri police chief accused of selling stolen guns, forging timesheets
A former Missouri police chief was charged with three felonies this week after he allegeldy took guns and accessories from his department and sold them for cash, police say. He is also accused of forging the time sheets of an officer he was in a relationship with.
Michael Ward was the police chief in California, a central Missouri city of about 4,200 people, until he resigned May 2, according to the California Democrat.
On Wednesday, the Moniteau County prosecuting attorney filed three felonies against Ward — two counts of stealing and one count of forgery.
The charges were filed more than two weeks after the agency's interim chief discovered two guns and two holographic weapon sights to be missing from the police department, KOMU reported.
The Missouri Highway Patrol, the lead investigating agency in the case, determined that Ward purchased the guns, a Glock 22 pistol and a Colt AR-15 rifle, and the sights with department funds between 2016 and 2017.
Troopers found that Ward allegedly sold the guns in January to a Jefferson City pawn shop, media outlets reported.
The California Democrat reported that Ward also allegedly sold a rifle and the missing sights to two relatives of another officer, though following his resignation, records said, Ward tried to buy back the rifle from one of the relatives.
According to KRCG, Ward told a separate officer he was selling some of his personal guns to purchase a fence for a female officer.
KOMU reported Ward was in an intimate relationship with the female officer. When she went on medical leave for about two months last summer, reports said, Ward filled out her time sheets to make it appear she was working 40 hours per week.
The woman told authorities Ward had offered to give her his remaining paid time off so she could take medical leave, the California Democrat reported. At the time, authorities said the woman wasn't eligible for paid medical leave.
A warrant was issued for Ward's arrest Wednesday. Bond was set at $25,000.
A special prosecutor from Morgan County has been appointed in the case.
An attorney has not yet been listed for Ward.