Police: Cop Caught Selling AK-47 on the Job

WYALUSING — A cop in Bradford County has been suspended for allegedly selling an AK-47 out of the back of the patrol car last week.

Laceyville Borough Police Officer Matt Chamberlain was on duty at the time of the apparent gun sale.

“I was shocked, I was shocked. Especially when there’s an automatic* weapon involved and the public was exposed,” said Phillip Brewer, the mayor of Laceyville.

After this incident, the mayor of Laceyville suspended Chamberlain without pay.

“It’s one isolated incident, but you have to deal with it. You can’t let this slide,” said Brewer.

People in Bradford County could not believe a cop would sell a gun, on the taxpayers’ dollar.

“It’s pretty scary knowing that someone in law enforcement could be out selling guns to people,” said Shawn Burns from Lawton.

Ashley Fiori from Forksville said, “They know the law, ya know? They’re supposed to be protecting us!”

“For him to do something so foolish, it just boggled my mind,” said Jean Reinhart, the mayor of Wyalusing.

It was in the parking lot at the Dandy Mary when witnesses said that Laceyville cop was selling an AK-47 out of the back of his police cruiser. People said it was bad enough that he was selling the gun, but at one point he walked away from his vehicle and the AK-47.

“There could have been something tragic could have happened here,” said Reinhart.

Newswatch 16 tried calling Chamberlain for his side of the story, but there no answer.

As a result of Chamberlain’s suspension, the Laceyville Police Department is only operating with one officer, the chief.

But Laceyville Police Chief Scott Perry has a message for the residents of Laceyville and Wyalusing: “It’s perfectly understandable, you’re concerned about the incident but the police are here for you and we need to get through it.”

The Laceyville Borough Council will hold a special meeting Friday at the Laceyville Public Library at 8pm to decide officer Chamberlain’s fate.

*6/24/14 – Laceyville Police Chief Scott Perry confirms that the AK-47 in question is, in fact, a semi-automatic weapon. Newswatch 16 apologizes for any confusion.

129 comments

    • Jeff Adams

      The media is just a bunch of idiots. That AK47 wasn’t a automatic rifle. If it were and he sold it the ATF would of knocked down his door not given him a suspension. He should get to keep his job and get compensated for his suspension from the idiot news guy. Anything for a story right?

      • Steve

        Because no new full autos are produced for sale to the civilian market, AK-47 or AR-15 in civilian hands are semi-auto.. Per BATF, if it is automatic the buyer needs to apply for a tax stamp to own such a gun because they do an extensive background check.. it could not be sold out of the trunk of a car.. don’t get me wrong they’re out there but to find a transferable one (made before 1986) is all most imposable and also are very expensive, I mean 20 thousand or more.. we need more details from the media before we condemn someone that said he has the right to sell a firearm but I think he should not be selling guns on shift, it does send the wrong message

    • Molly

      @MDOG Wtf is Wrong with you? Obviously your not aware of the 200 police departments already suspended from the govts 1033 program due to “losing” everything from weapons to MRAP vehicles.

      • Chris W

        @MOLLY, WTF is wrong with you? Obviously you’re not aware that this was a personal weapon and not government property as you allege. I know WNEP has done a terrible job getting this story reported accurately, but your insinuation that this weapon was government property is indicative of terrible reading comprehension.

  • matt

    Did he do anything illegal? no.. Really bad judgement on his part?? absolutely. If he was on duty and saw me in the same scenario.. .in a parking lot, would he have stopped to investigate what was going on?? You bet-ya.

    • Rick Coker (@RickCoker)

      What? He has to do something illegal to be fired. I don’t think so. He should be fired for showing bad judgment. This is a person who wears a gun on his hip everyday and has the power to ruin someones life with a unlawful arrest. Not the kind of person who should be in that type of position. He is a moron.

  • Dan

    First guy interviewed at gas station should be happy less cops to patrol the town now. Maybe he can get around a while longer with that expired inspection sticker.

  • spartan181

    I wager once the mayor changes his underwear after his “zomg guns!@#@’ statement. I doubt he’d feel ignorant noting that it was a semi automatic rifle and considerably less ‘ermagherd!’ And totally legal.

  • Chris W

    The false indignation shown in the comments and in the story are ridiculous.

    Was the officer attempting to sell the weapon illegally? A little bit of research seems to show he wasn’t (the weapon was semi-automatic, not automatic as the story and mayor incorrectly state). So, what we have here is a police officer conducting personal business on company time. How would you punish a police officer for selling magazines out of the back of his car? That should be the same penalty this guy gets.

    WNEP 16, you owe it to your readers, listeners, and Mr. Chamberlain to tell the story as accurately as possible. So far, you are failing in that endeavor.

      • Chris W

        My previous reply with a website URL doesn’t seem to have made it through WNEP 16’s filters. Do a google search and look for the story on pahomepage. They clearly state it was semi-auto.

        In regards to your statement that he could still be fired if it wasn’t illegal, that is an unrealistic expectation. If he failed to meet his supervisors expectations for what he is doing while on the clock, they should counsel him and restate their expectations to the rest of the staff. If it happens again, they have grounds to take action to terminate.

  • w t

    This guy performs a legal transaction and they want his job!?!?!? Obama sells truck loads of illegal guns to the Mexican drug cartel and……. Nothing!

  • Me

    Police officers can not change out if uniform if they take a break or stop for lunch So who is to say if he was on the clock or his own time ?

    • Chris

      Another happenstance of Liberal media making something out of nothing. Its just Hoplophobes and oversensitive liberals getting all antsy in the pantsy over a cop doing what is done thousands of times a day all over the country. This was not an automatic gun where a single pull of the trigger can shoot multiple rounds. The ATF fees and redtape would have cost the officer more than the gun is worth if that was the case. There is, however, something to be said of the officer conducting this business while on the job. Break or no break, it was wrong of him to make this transaction during working hours . I doubt he sold it to someone he didn’t know, but it could have been a bit more private and while he wasn’t driving his patrol car, in uniform, and in public. It’s also clear to me that most small town cops are usually “on break” as they are not as busy as big city cops and patrol quieter AO’s. I’m not aware that he actually broke any laws, but with some American’s uneducated oversensitivety to guns, he could have been more discreet.

  • Melissa

    This whole thing is ridiculous! If I know one thing it’s that Matt is a great police officer and would never do something so stupid being a chip means everything to him maybe they need to look at the police department that he works for. Keep your head you Matt we got your back!

  • Jason M

    Does anyone know if the other person bought it? If not, how much was he asking for it? If he still has it let me know, I might be interested in it, if the price is right.

  • Joe Schmoe

    Thinking about it a little but more this morning. If it makes people feel better, I’ll personally reimburse the borough the $1.50 he spent of their money on the clock selling his legal firearm. I’ll even double it to $3.00! Especially since that seems to be the problem, being on the clock. If that isn’t the problem, then it’s because the libs will want injustice for this. If that’s the case, I hope he fights this.

  • shawn

    So if he was selling TV or puppys (also legal to do from a trunk of a car) would all these people be so mad? If your mad about the selling of a legal fire arm, get over it. If your mad he was “on the clock” get over that to, if he was sitting there for 2 hours drinking a coffee would you care?? Doubt it, Who hasn’t dont something personal while on the clock???

  • That Guy

    Yes the officer should not have conducted personal business while on duty. The chances that the AK-47 in question is “automatic” are slim to none. He should be reprimanded at most. It is perfectly legal to sell a rifle in Pennsylvania.

    • Jason M

      I agree. What if he was sitting in the parking lot paying his cell phone bill from his smart phone. Are ppl going to be bent out of shape because he’s conducting personal ,business on the clock. Bad choice, but no harm no foul.

      • BK

        This is America now. Facts and logic are irrelevant. Emotion is the only driver anymore. “ZOMGZZZ he was doing something legal!” “Ok, well sure it was legal, but it was on the clock and I still hate firearms so I HAVE to crucify him in anyway possible for this. So him being on duty is now my new outrage. Of course I wouldn’t be mad if he was selling a littler of rescued puppies. I would even be commenting positively on the news article that was written to praise him if he was doing so. But because gunzzzz!!!! Chaos!”

    • 2ndAmendment

      Agreed. Just look at the facts. Was he doing this under the cover of secrecy or in plain view of the public? Crooks and crazy people don’t buy guns from officers in uniform.

  • d

    The fact that sme people are sticking up for him is ridiculous if it was anybidy else we wukd be sittng our asses in jail. Instead of just being suspended without pay.

    • dadsource

      Cops have seen me sell semi auto rifles in parking lots. They do nothing because it is LEGAL. Know the law before you go on these feelings-based tirades. This is not psychology class!

    • BK

      What on Earth are you talking about? What he was doing was LEGAL. If anyone else was doing this and they were thrown in jail for it, they would be able to file a lawsuit.

    • Theo Evans

      I sell firearms at my job all the time, and my boss has no problem with it. What did he do wrong? What do you mean “sitting our asses in jail?” If he sold a legal firearm to a legal buyer, then he committed no crime. Learn to think instead of feel. It will get you much farther in life.

    • Bob Barker

      If it had been anyone else this would not have been a issue. It’s not illegal and obviously you don’t have a clue about any of this. Another uninformed person that causes more problems that solving them. Don’t worry, football season is just right around the corner.

    • Chris

      Uh, sitting in jail for what exactly? Selling a gun from the trunk of your car? Hmm, that’s legal in most free states especially if you have an FFL. Some states don’t even require that and private transfers are perfectly fine. That is unless you’re an idiot who cannot distinguish between automatic and semi-automatic in which there is a huge difference. It’s exactly this kind of unedcuated BS that Liberals thrive and overreact on. They also like to spread their hate and discontent by trying to misinform anyone who will listen to them. Liberals… Morons all…

  • marbs

    This story is certainly lacking in facts. If it was his gun and did not belong to the town or was stolen what is the problem?. He showed poor judgement by meeting in a public place while on duty, should he be fired I don’t think so as as far as I can tell he did nothing illegal. It is not illegal to sell a rifle in PA. He deserves a written reprimand and at most a three day suspension for conducting personal business while on duty. Discipline him more at your peril he will sue and win.

  • Cousin Stinky

    Good money? I guarantee that his salary doesn’t cover the cost of living. I also bet you have no problem cashing your welfare checks.

  • Daniel

    I think it’s quit a big deal our tax paying dollars are paying him good money for him to keep the streets clean & do his job while he’s on duty at least, not to be selling assault rifles out of the trunk of his police cruiser. That’s what the make adds in the paper for , eBay or Craig’s like…etc etc. personally I think it’s inexcusable & he should be charged & fired because of it. Sincerely Daniel Taylor.

    • Karl

      Whats the charge? What crime was committed? He was well within every constitutional right and law. He should be fired? For doing something while on the clock? Remember that today while youre on your personal phone call or making that real quick trip to the store or bank

    • Dan

      You can not be fired for something that is legal!!!!!! What would the charge be? Don’t worry… I’ll wait!
      Sincerely, Daniel Brown

  • Stevo

    Oh, LAWD! I lived a few miles from Laceyville and grew up there. 1000 miles away now, but keep the area in my heart fondly. This is a NON-story. Private firearm sales are perfectly legal. This is NOT an automatic weapon, it’s a semi-auto. Just like every other weapon. AK’s have been standard firearms since the Vietnam war, I’ve got one, everyon has one. Cops sell things just like private citizens do. Cops are usually big firearms people. I personally HATE when the police force is turning into and how they treat people. But this guy is fully within his legal rights to sell the firearm, as long as there is a bill of sale. The town of Laceyville is about to get sued by this cop for the anti-constitution, knee-jerk reaction from the liberal mayor. Constitutional rights trump your feelings every time. Or just bow down and kiss Obamas ring now.

    • Ruthie Rader

      I just hitchhiked across the Country and due to storms I ended up visiting more States than I had originally intended to. During all of that time, I was never told that hitchhiking is illegal until I got to this part of the Country. A local cop, with nothing better to do, recently stopped me in Pennsylvania. The man never asked if I needed water, if I needed to get into some shade…in essence, he never asked me if I was alright. No, he told me that he’d gotten “a couple of calls” about me and then proceeded to tell me why I cannot hitchhike in PA. This after I have just finished hitching 3/4 of the way across this State! Then the cop parked his cruiser across the street and waited for me to grab my backpack and trudge off into the heat. Now I see what the local cops here are really all about…and this news story proves it.

  • Jason2288

    It clearly is NOT an “automatic” weapon as they said and not illegal. Another story beefed up by the media to sound like a better story than it really is…

    • Dominick Ahrens

      Well, semi-automatic has the word “automatic” in it, right?

      I suppose in this era of hoplophobic pseudo-journalism we should be thankful they didn’t refer to it as an Uzi.

  • jim

    I see the Waverly cop out collecting bills and running his contracting business out of the Waverly cop car all the time. So really, what’s the big deal? Same thing, ain’t it ?

  • Joe Schmoe

    I see nothing wrong with this. People meet at work for things all the time. Maybe the only time the buyer had time to meet. I know I’m speaking reasonably, but bear with me here. This is a Non-issue. Probably the most action he saw in Laceyville that day!! Oh and mayor Phil, don’t punish this guy by bowing down to the anti-gun moronic crowd! Leave that nonsense to the new jerseys and new Yorkshire of the country. Just remember mayor brewer, how many things have you done while on the clock that you shouldn’t have? Tread lightly.

  • ababy

    Who reading this story didnt do something personal while on the clock today? Everyone does. Every day. Are you suspended now? Then why is he? No crime was committed here. Its legal to openly carry a gun in public in Pennsylvania. Its legal to sell that type of gun without paperwork transfer in Pennsylvania. Careless and stupid? No worse than the 20 personal texts/calls we all made while we were on the clock today. Educate yourself. Learn the constitution. Know your rights. He did nothing wrong.

    • kshuff

      There is no such thing as an “assault weapon”. This term was created by the mainstream media. Assault is an action, not a thing. Wake up people

    • Babel

      I don’t think it’s about his rights. Yes, he was perfectly within his legal rights to sell the rifle–and shouldn’t be disciplined for that. But doing so out of your squad car in uniform in front of a mini mart makes people confused and uncomfortable, and makes it appear as though the cop isn’t especially worried about who he’s giving his weapon to. Legal or not, it bothers people that an officer of the law wouldn’t have better judgment and foresight than to recognize that. Cops are a symbol of power and protection, and to see one out in the open arming some random un-uniformed person is an unsettling sight for people, regardless of its legality.

      • John

        As someone already pointed out, bad guys do not walk up to uniformed cops to buy guns! Second, a cop is just a person who got trained to do a job! They are not some mythical creature with super powers. They are humans that do a hard job. They should receive respect but they should not be boosted to be something they are not.

  • confusing world we live in

    If it was being sold to almost anyone but another cop, that would make it be in safer hands.. At lest in regards to the general public, not corporate agendas that the police obey their orders from. They “protect” us based on the ideals of big brother lining his pockets. This cop may have been actually upholding the constitution more than we know.. There is a lot that is unknown though. And im only partially serious with this since all is not known, so no need for the cry baby liberals to go ape poop and cuss me out. Good day.

    • MWM

      “If it was being sold to almost anyone but another cop, that would make it be in safer hands.” You mean like wild-eyed-druggie-nepa-knuckle-draggers?

  • Mac Daddy

    Ah crap! I was suppose to get my fireworks for the 4th next week from him. Trunk sale prices!

  • Garben

    Put him back on te job and grow up people at least t was a legal gun and not narcotics from the evidence room

    • Tim

      You would think being a cop he would know how NOT to be so careless and stupid. A decent crooked police office would have a sale out of his garage and keep it on the down low.

      • burtfan

        What makes him crooked? Do you have a job Tim? Are you going to tell me that you dedicate every minute of the day to your job? Nobody can say they do.

      • chilly willy

        Selling a semi-auto rifle in PA privately is completely legal. The big stink is that he was on duty when he did so. He should have made arrangements to meet after work. I don’t feel removing him from the job was required, a warning was all that was needed. It’s not like he was selling drugs or illegal weapons.

    • Jason K

      He was selling his privately owned, semi-automatic, long gun. Now if he were selling guns out of the evidence locker, or stolen guns, then he’d be crooked, but he’s not!

  • burtfan

    I don’t understand why this is a HUGE deal. It’s perfectly legal to sell a rifle person to person. All he did wrong was that he did it on the clock. How many times have you seen cops wasting time, getting coffees, bullshitting with each other while they’re in their patrol cars etc…..Don’t we all do that at work? This whole area has bigger things than this to worry about.

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