DECATUR — A Decatur man is facing preliminary charges of being a felon in possession of a handgun police said he stole from an owner who was initially reluctant to identify him to detectives for fear of retaliation.

A sworn affidavit from Decatur police said the 21-year-old man was arrested Wednesday and remained in the Macon County Jail on Thursday night in lieu of posting $100,000 bond. He also faces a preliminary charge of theft. All preliminary charges are subject to review by the state attorney’s office.

Writing in the affidavit, Detective Benjamin Massey said the 9mm handgun was reported stolen in April. Its owner described a man he said he allowed into his home to use the restroom who then stole his gun.

Massey said officers were investigating a report of a battery May 5 and ended up chasing and catching a man who ran from them and who they say dropped the 9mm handgun as he fled. The man also matched the description of the gun thief, but the owner at first said he did not recognize his picture in a photo lineup.

Under further police questioning, however, the owner said he did recognize the suspect as the man who had taken his gun. He had been concerned for his and his family's safety due to retaliation, Massey said in the affidavit.

The gun owner also said the original theft story was not true. He said he actually visited the suspect’s home while carrying the gun, and the man asked to see it and then refused to give it back. 

Police said the suspect has a previous conviction for the aggravated discharge of a gun and is not allowed to possess any kind of firearm.

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Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid


Macon County Courts Reporter

Macon County courts reporter for the Herald & Review.

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