A Connecticut State Trooper trainee has been banned from a gun store in his jurisdiction after an investigation confirmed that he walked out of the shop last September with an ammunition magazine he didn’t pay for. According to the Stamford Advocate newspaper, it was September 11th when Trooper Trainee Romello Lumpkin came into the Newington Gun Exchange to purchase a 12-round magazine. That retail transaction took place without incident. The problem is that in addition to paying for the “high capacity” mag, Lumpkin also walked out of the store with a 10-round magazine he didn’t pay for.
The extra magazine had been removed from a display gun, and an employee later placed it in the packaging for the 12-round magazine that Lumpkin purchased, according to the report. The business reported the missing magazine was valued at $54.
The owner of the gun store decided not to press charges against Lumpkin, according to the report. But the store’s owner requested Newington police to add Lumpkin to its list of individuals banned from the premises, meaning he could be charged with trespassing if he returns to the property, the report stated.
State police determined there was enough evidence to show Lumpkin committed misdemeanor larceny, claiming his actions revealed he intended to take the magazine, despite denying the accusation, the report stated.
“It is not as though he went in with 10 items and came out with 11, a mistake which could more reasonably be understood in the confusion of the presence of many items,” state police wrote in the internal affairs report.
Following the investigation, Lumpkin was suspended for violating the code of conduct, according to the report. The report does not indicate how long Lumpkin was suspended or if he was paid while on leave.
Lumpkin maintains that he simply didn’t realize the ten-round magazine wasn’t his, even though he couldn’t explain to investigators how a magazine he thought was in the pistol on his hip ended up in his bag. That excuse makes even less since given that he also told investigators he walked into the store without a magazine in his Sig P365.
Surveillance footage from the store also allegedly showed Lumpkin’s body language change after he placed the magazine in his gun, capturing him “walking around the store, looking around in a manner described as looking at the security cameras,” as well as “touching and manipulating the area of his waist where he had concealed the magazine,” the report stated.
Store employees noticed the 10-round magazine missing from the display gun at the end of the day, and then reviewed the security footage to determine what happened, the report stated.
Lumpkin was identified by the gun store through the register’s receipts, according to the report. He also had to show the employee his state police identification to prove he was eligible to buy the 12-round magazine, which is considered a high-capacity clip in Connecticut.
Lumpkin also failed to return the magazine to the shop for five days after the store contacted him to let him know about the “mistake.” The trainee told investigators that if he truly wanted to steal the magazine, he wouldn’t have paid for his 12-round mag with a credit card or shown his ID, but honestly, based on what the investigators uncovered, it doesn’t sound like he was planning to steal the magazine, at least until the clerk put it in the packaging for the 12-round magazine he purchased. It sounds more like a crime of opportunity than one requiring foresight and planning, but that doesn’t make it any less appropriate.
I’d say Lumpkin should be thanking his lucky stars that the gun store owner decided not to pursue charges and is simply telling the trooper trainee to keep away from his shop. Lumpkin’s “mistake” could have caused his career path to go sideways, and as it is he’s going to be starting his job with the state police carrying around a report that declares “his conduct reflects negatively on the department.” I sincerely hope that his actions going forward will eventually outweigh his conduct on 9/11 last year, but frankly, it’s gonna take some time for the stink to wash away.