Report sheds light on Auburn officer's 2010 resignation, dropped charges
Prosecutors dropped charges against retired Auburn police lieutenant David Flight two weeks before he was to go on trial for felony theft charges. (COURTESY)
Prosecutors with the Attorney General's Officer later dropped the charges after investigators discovered a ledger that recorded the confiscation of about 60 long rifles from an Auburn resident in 1992. Those rifles were stored at Flight's home because, at the time, the police station's closet-size evidence room could not hold them, Flight maintained.
The weapons were later returned to the owner, who picked them up at the Rockingham County Sheriff's Office, according to Picard. The rifle that Flight allegedly had in his possession was confiscated in a home invasion case which Flight investigated, the chief said.
The rifle became the subject of an investigation when officers were doing an inventory of the evidence room, in anticipation of having a judge approve forfeiture of some guns, which the department planned to sell to Riley's Gun Shop in Hooksett. Picard said the department used the credit from Riley's to buy ammunition and needed weapons.
The 250-page investigation, released after the New Hampshire Union Leader filed a Right-to-Know request, depicts an angry Flight lashing out at the department, telling investigators former Police Chief Lloyd Wood — who left office more than 20 years ago — had carried in an ankle holster a stainless police special taken from evidence. He left, Flight said, because he had dated Ed Socha's secretary and knew that the Parker-Milne mansion, where Socha lived and which burned to the ground in 1984, had been set on fire. Wood, Flight told investigators, never told anybody what he knew.
Flight also maintained it was not uncommon for Picard to call Flight and ask "what do we have that was taken away?" I need a BB gun or I need .22 rifle, Flight said Picard would ask, telling investigators he believed he gave Picard at least two BB guns and one or more .22 rifles.
The chief also was asked whether he had given Flight an old shotgun that would have been of no value. He said no, but told the story of "years and years ago" of pulling over a driver who was in a clown's outfit. When the clown opened his glove compartment, there was a sawed-off shotgun in it. The clown driver was arrested and the gun confiscated.
Flight also said it was common practice in the case of a minor in possession of alchol for police to dispose of the beer, once the case was adjudicated, by putting it out on a table and announcing whoever wanted it could take it. Capt. Gary Bartis, he said, took most of it.
Picard told investigators that he was joking when he said that, and while that happened years and years ago, it had not happened since the Kingston case, a New Hampshire Supreme Court ruling issued in 1986. Flight was hired in 1989, however.
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