In the course of the ongoing investigation into missing evidence, two guns have been discovered in the basement of the Port Chester police station. Details about the guns-where they came from, why they were in the basement, what case, if any, they pertain to-are still being determined.
"I think it's a sign that the investigation is being taken very seriously and it's a sign that it's progressing," said Port Chester Trustee Dan Brakewood.
The village board was alerted Wednesday that two guns had been found in the basement during the investigation, of which the village's outside labor counsel Terry O'Neil is in charge, but the details are still uncertain. Acting Police Chief John Telesca refused to speak about any police matters when contacted Wednesday evening and Village Manager Chris Steers, who now oversees the day-to-day operations of the police department, did not return several phone calls for comment.
"The bottom line is we don't have too much information," said Trustee Luis Marino.
"They could have been there for the past 10 years and nobody knew about it or someone could have put them there after they got nervous," Trustee Sam Terenzi said. "I'm not a detective. I'm just trying to piece together whatever limited information they give me."
Brakewood agreed that there are a number of possibilities and no one knows if the guns were or were not in the station the whole time.
"We don't know which scenario is correct until the investigation is complete," he said.
Regardless, the fact that guns ended up in the police station basement is "disturbing," Terenzi said. "I think the people of Port Chester deserve an answer to what has been going on."
Brakewood expects more information to come to light as the investigation into the evidence missing from the police lockup proceeds.
"We need to see the investigation through to a logical conclusion," he said. "We're trying to balance the [need for] speed with the need for thoroughness. Quite honestly, as a trustee, I'm more interested in thoroughness."
He hopes that within months, if not weeks, the board will receive a final report on the subject.
Whether or not it will lead to criminal action is still uncertain as sometimes there is not enough evidence to convict someone without a shadow of a doubt, Brakewood explained. That does not mean, however, that there are not consequences.
Following investigations in 2010 into possible wrongdoing in the building department and into tens of thousands of dollars in missing meter money, there was significant personnel turnover in both village departments, Brakewood argued, and the possibility of criminal charges is still open.
"I suspect that the investigation, the police investigation, will yield significant findings that will have a major impact on the police department," he added.
Already there appear to be changes underway, according to an internal memo sent to board members late Wednesday night regarding a massive reorganization and an upcoming drastic realignment of the police department.