Canton Township police lieutenant faces criminal charges

Canton Township police say Lt. Jerry Hardesty accused of stealing long gun from department

Published On: Apr 09 2013 02:58:45 PM EDT   Updated On: Apr 09 2013 06:49:57 PM EDT
Jerry Hardesty in court
CANTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. -

Jerry Hardesty copy Canton Township police say a veteran lieutenant has been arraigned on several charges stemming from a Michigan State Police criminal investigation.

Lt. Jerry Hardesty, 55, has been placed on administrative leave and will remain on leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation by the department, Canton Township police said.

The 24-year veteran of the Canton Township police force is accused of stealing a military-style long gun from the police department. He had been assigned to Canton Township's SWAT team.

"The Canton Police Department holds its employees accountable to the high professional standards set by the organization and remains committed to providing excellent law enforcement services to the community in which we serve," said Canton Public Safety Director Todd Mutchler.

Mutchler says the department became aware of the missing weapon in February. State police took over the case in March.

"The weapon was recovered by him. He was cooperative in the investigation, he did return the weapon over to us," said Michigan State Police Lt. Michael Shaw.

State police investigators allegedly recovered the weapon from Hardesty's home. A reliable source tells Local 4 the gun had been missing from the department fore years. Canton Township police won't discuss how they keep track of weapons.

What does MSP do?

"They come down, they are issued to the individual post and then they are monitored by the post commander and then the sergeants inventory them once a month to make sure they are put back into our gun room, which is what we call them," said Shaw.

Hardesty said little to the judge on Tuesday and nothing to Local 4.

"This is a department weapon that he had in his custody, legitimately. And now they're bringing larceny charges against him. That's all I can tell you at this time. He's very distraught," said defense lawyer John Goldpaugh.