Los Angeles, CA – The former manager of the gun store at the Los Angeles Police Academy was locked up by his own clients after he allegedly pilfered guns from the shop’s inventory and sold them to officers and deputies.
Sources told the Los Angeles Times that 33-year-old Archi Duenas was arrested on March 19 on suspicion of having stolen and sold almost 40 firearms over the past several years.
Duenas was a long-time employee of the gun store owned by the nonprofit Los Angeles Police Revolver and Athletic Club (LAPRAAC). Its customers are primarily law enforcement officers.
The club’s governing board is made up of Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers and command staff, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Like every gun store in the country, Duenas’ shop was busy after the pandemic first hit the West Coast.
But the doors have been closed since Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti classified firearms dealers as “non-essential” businesses in his “stay at home” order on March 23, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Multiple sources said that an investigation was launched about a month ago during an audit of the store’s inventory when LAPRAAC officials found missing weapons and empty gun boxes.
They also found sales that had been done without proper paperwork, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Sources told the newspaper that the charges against Duenas were based on gun thefts that go back years, not just the most recent ones.
Investigators determined that several LAPD officers and a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy purchased the stolen guns from Duenas cheaply and illegally, and skipped the required federal paperwork, according to sources.
The officers and deputies who purchased the guns could face charges for their part in the scam, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“They knew what they were doing,” a source familiar with the case said. “You know when you’re buying illegally and well below market value.”
Club President LAPD Officer Rick Santos said that Duenas had been fired and the board was looking for ways to upgrade their oversight of the firearms dealer under their stewardship, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Twelve of the nearly 40 stolen guns remain missing.
The rest were given to detectives by the law enforcement officers who bought the stolen weapons, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Duenas was booked into the LAPD jail on March 20 and charged with felony grand theft.
He was later released on $45,000 bail, according to the Los Angeles Times.