LETHBRIDGE: Regional Police have charged a 65-year-old retired LRPS officer with public mischief, fraud and firearms offences for reporting a crime that never occurred then making a false insurance claim.
It's alleged that Daniel Francis Bennett, of Lethbridge, reported that his garage had been broken into and numerous firearms stolen. He then reported the loss to his insurance company.
Further investigation determined that some of the firearms which had been reported stolen had in fact been seized by Calgary Police, as part of a separate investigation, prior to the alleged break-in.
On Oct. 26, 2011, Calgary Police obtained a search warrant which was executed at the man’s west side home, as well as two other locations and a vehicle in and around Lethbridge. Investigators located a number of improperly stored firearms, found that some firearms were unaccounted for and one the man was not authorized to possess.
Calgary Police Service allege the man, a licensed arms dealer, was buying the guns legally then selling them out of his vehicle without paperwork to the highest bidder. The arrest, at that time, was part of an ongoing Calgary Police Service investigation that led to a large weapons seizure in June 2010. At that time, Calgary police seized 16 firearms, including a machine gun, and laid 104 weapons-related charges against four different people.
In relation the Lethbridge search conducted by Calgary Police, Bennett was charged with nine counts of weapons trafficking. A total of 10 weapons were seized, but no charges were laid in relation to those weapons
The new charges Bennett faces include public mischief, attempted fraud over $5,000, careless use of a firearm, transfer of firearm without authority, possession of a firearm at unauthorized place and contravention of firearm storage regulations.
Regional Police confirm Bennett was a member of the Lethbridge Regional Police Service, and retired in 2001.
He is scheduled to appear in Calgary court November 15th, at which point a trial date will be set on his original charges. It's also expected that the new charges will be added onto that as well.