OWI driver falsely accused of having stolen handgun

Photo provided by the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office.
Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 3:21pm

A simple oversight caused a 21-year-old to end up with a charge for a crime that he did not commit.

“The business owner who reported the gun stolen never called the sheriff’s office once he found the firearm,” Chief Chad Leger, Scott Police Department, explained. “When we ran the information on the gun, it came back stolen, but we later learned that it was obtained legally.”

It all started when Joshua Craft was involved in a car crash at the intersection of Apollo Road and Cameron Street on May 4, 2013 at roughly 5:30 a.m. When officers arrived on scene, they believed Craft was intoxicated.

“A standard field sobriety test was conducted and according to the results, it was determined that Mr. Craft was impaired,” Chief Leger noted. “He was then placed under arrest for Operating While Intoxicated second offense.”

The gun was located in his car during a vehicle inventory after his car was towed due to the damage from the crash. In accordance with policy, the serial number was run and it came back from the National Crime Information Center as being reported stolen by the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office in November 2004.

“Originally we were told that it was stolen from a home, but it was actually reported stolen from a business,” Chief Leger explained.

The business owner eventually found the missing gun, but never called to say that it had been found. He then sold the gun to Craft’s father, who later gave it to his son.

“Mr. Craft had no knowledge that the gun was still listed as stolen,” Chief Leger said. “A bill of sale was provided to the Scott Police to bolster Craft’s claim that he obtained the weapon legitimately. On the top line of the receipt was the name of the complainant of the theft report from November of 2004.”

The charge of Illegal Possession of a Stolen Firearm has since been abolished. However, Craft still faces charges for Operating While Intoxicated (second offense) and Careless Operation of a Vehicle.
 

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