Independence Man Charged with Possessing Firearm Stolen from Police Officer's Home
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that an Independence, Mo., man was charged in federal court today with illegally possessing a firearm that had been stolen during the burglary of a Belton, Mo., police officer’s residence.
Paul M. Leach, 35, of Independence, was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm in a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo.
Today’s criminal complaint alleges that Leach was in possession of a Sig Sauer .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun on June 12, 2016. According to an affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, the handgun was the duty weapon issued to a police officer at the Belton Police Department, which was reported as stolen on Dec. 10, 2015, in a residential burglary in Lee’s Summit, Mo.
Independence police officers were called to the intersection of E. 51st Street South and Cottage Street in Independence on the afternoon of Sunday, June 12, 2016, in response to a report of a suspicious person armed with a gun and allegedly under the influence of illegal drugs. They made contact with Leach, who was seated in a chair near the garage door of a residence on Cottage Street.
Leach fled on foot, the affidavit says, running across the lawn and down the road. As he was being pursued, the affidavit says, officers saw him reach into the waistband area of his pants and remove the loaded Sig Sauer handgun. Leach allegedly discarded the firearm into a shrub or bush. He was pursued a short distance from where he was observed abandoning the firearm, the affidavit says, and was taken into custody.
Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Leach has three prior felony convictions for aggravated battery and kidnaping and a prior felony conviction for robbery. Leach is currently under the supervision of the Kansas Department of Corrections, Office of Probation and Parole.
Dickinson cautioned that the charge contained in this complaint is simply an accusation, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charge must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph M. Marquez. It was investigated by the Independence, Mo., Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.