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Salem man charged with taking 40 guns from store

The suspect is accused of taking the guns from the store where he worked, police said.
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Former employee accused of stealing 40 firearms from Runnings in Putnam

PUTNAM, Conn. — A Salem man has been arrested for taking 40 firearms, valued at nearly $32,000 for his own use from the store where he worked according to the Connecticut State Police

David Paterno, 59, of Salem, was charged with 13 counts of illegally transferring the purchase of a pistol or revolver, 13 counts of false statements regarding the transfer of a pistol or revolver, two counts of illegal sale, delivery or transfer of a long gun, two counts of false statements regarding the transfer of a long gun, one count of larceny in the first degree, and 40 counts of stealing firearms.

He was held on $50,000 bond. He appeared in court on May 20. 

Police said were called to Runnings Department Store in Putnam on January 1, 2020, on a report of an employee possibly stealing firearms over a long period of time. 

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State police said in court documents that Paterno was seen by employees taking boxes and cases from the store on a number of occasions. 

When confronted, Paterno reportedly returned 28 firearms to the store, saying those were the guns that he had taken. 

He claimed that he was allowed to take items from the store under a sponsorship agreement. Store officials told police that the sponsorship agreement covered ammunition and similar items costing under $100, but not guns. 

Paterno also claimed that the guns were being sold to another firearms dealer, Brooklyn Trading Post. However, no documents were recorded for the sale according to police. Court documents indicate Paterno is no longer with Runnings.

RELATED: Waterbury man sentenced to 10 years for trafficking guns, drugs between Connecticut and Maine

State and federal laws require documentation for ownership of a firearm to be transferred to a different person or company. 

Paterno also offered to give or sell store employees items that were removed from the inventory logs because they were defective, according to police.

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