Updated 10/10/2012 12:38 AM
Queens Man Cleared Of Stealing Police Weapons For Cash
A Queens man was found not guilty Tuesday of stealing police weapons from a NYPD precinct house and selling them back to make a profit. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
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Ronald De Shields faced serious charges. He was accused of sneaking into the 103rd Precinct in Queens, breaking into lockers and stealing two 9 mm guns from officers.
But after deliberating for four days, jurors found him not guilty of all charges.
"Too many holes in the stories," said one juror.
"It was just hard to believe," said a second juror. "In my mind, it was just hard to believe."
"If the evidence is not equaling up to what we're getting, what can we do?" said a third juror.
The NYPD and Queens prosecutors alleged De Shields was a master impersonator of various law enforcement officers and found it thrilling to pretend to be one.
They pointed to a video De Shields made of himself turning in one of the weapons to a gun buyback program at the 90th Precinct in Brooklyn. He received $100 for the gun.
In court, it was mentioned that De Shields told investigators a police officer gave it to him. But the NYPD said no officers were found to be involved with the theft.
De Shields' lawyers said police were trying to make him take the fall for a crime he wasn't involved in by making up evidence.
"Obviously, the police were saying there was a fingerprint of my client at the scene and we felt that that was something that fabricated by the police," said Jeff Chabrowe, De Shields' attorney.
This past summer, in an exclusive jailhouse interview with NY1, De Shields said he was only trying to keep the public safe.
"When I came in contact with this gun, I turned it in," he said. "I did what I thought was best. I just wanted to pretty much make sure no one got hurt with this gun."
The second gun has never been found.
Although De Shields was cleared in this case, he still faces charges in Brooklyn for allegedly possessing a stolen police bulletproof vest. His defense lawyers say that's a weak case and they plan to beat it as well.