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Michael Robert Leake
Michael Robert Leake

A former Leadville police chief pleaded guilty Friday to felony weapons charges for illegally selling guns, seized as evidence, to Denver area pawn shops.

Michael Robert Leake, 52, of Aurora, who was chief in Leadville from 2009 until resigning in December 2015, pleaded guilty in Lake County District Court to theft and providing false information to a pawnbroker, both felonies, according to a district attorney’s office news release.

Leake, who maintained exclusive control over the evidence room, removed several firearms and sold them to pawn shops, falsely representing that he had lawful ownership of the guns, prosecutors said. Leake also sold firearms, which had been used by his officers, illegally to pawn brokers and he deposited a check for $2,262, earmarked for department ammunition, into his own personal account.

Some of the firearms stolen by Leake have been recovered and returned to the police
department’s possession.

“It is sickening that a chief, entrusted with tracking down crime and preserving the peace, so
brazenly treated a small city’s assets as his own,” District Attorney Bruce Brown said in the release.

“We need to be able to trust that stewards of public money and property, will not take advantage of the
confidence placed in them by the public,” Brown said.

Leake, who faces up to four years in prison, is scheduled to be sentenced on February 23.

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