Salisbury Police officer accused of stealing firearms

Published 11:52 am Friday, July 1, 2016

By Shavonne Walker

SALISBURY — A Salisbury Police officer was charged following an investigation that began four months ago into the theft of several firearms from a Kannapolis property. Salisbury City officials say the officer has been placed on administrative leave without pay.

The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office charged Timmy Blake Hunter, 44, of the 600 block of North Enochville Avenue, Kannapolis, with four counts of felony larceny of a firearm.

According to officials, Hunter turned himself in to authorities Thursday, upon notification that there were outstanding orders for his arrest.

According to search warrants filed May 10 and July 1, the charges stem from a family dispute over firearms, which the relative said Timmy Hunter did not have permission to keep. A search warrant also said Hunter attempted to sell a handgun last summer via social networking site Facebook.

On March 10, Rowan Sheriff’s detectives began investigating the larceny of multiple firearms from Lois Stallings’ home, 5560 Sam Broadway Loop, Kannapolis. During the course of the investigation, detectives were able to develop a family member of the victim as a suspect in the case, a sheriff’s statement said. Hunter was identified as the suspect.

It is not clear how Lois Stallings and Timmy Hunter are related.

A search warrant filed in May indicates Lois Stallings had four different guns stolen from a detached garage at her home and from May 2013 to September 2014, numerous guns were stolen from four safes and inside her home. She went on to say the only way someone could have gotten into the safes was if they had access to the combination.

The warrant said in May 2013 Lois Stallings went on vacation and a handgun was stolen. Timmy Hunter admitted he had the gun and returned it. A July 1 search warrant said Timmy Hunter tried to sell a gun on Facebook.

During the investigation, several firearms were recovered and Timmy Hunter was interviewed, officials said. The information and facts obtained in this interview and the investigation were presented to the Rowan County grand jury on Monday.

Based on the evidence presented in the case, the grand jury returned four true bills of indictment charging Hunter with felony larceny of a firearm. He was processed and taken before a Rowan County Magistrate and was given a $10,000 unsecured bond and has since been released.

Hunter was initially placed on administrative leave with pay on April 22, pending results of the criminal investigation. The Salisbury Police Department modified his status to leave without pay on May 16.

City Communications Director Linda McElroy said pending the results of the police department’s internal investigation, Hunter will remain on administrative leave without pay.

She said the police department was made aware that Hunter was indicted Monday and subsequently arrested Thursday. The department could not conduct its own internal investigation of Hunter until the criminal investigation was complete.

Master Police Officer Timmy Hunter was hired by the Salisbury Police Department on Nov. 14, 2011, as a police officer II. He was promoted to master police officer on Feb. 27, 2016. His last duty assignment was as a school resource officer at Salisbury High School.

No additional information regarding Hunter’s employment status with the city of Salisbury will be provided as this is considered a personnel matter, she said.

Some may recall Hunter, who, at 12, was severely burned when a lawn mower gasoline can exploded near him, causing burns to over 90 percent of his body. His parents also received burns while trying to pat out the flames.