Thursday, June 19, 2008

Cops: Man Had Gun in Store

By Jeff Proctor, Albuquerque Journal Staff Writer

Police-issue gun belts and .40-caliber pistols aren't typically what gas station clerks and fast-food employees are hoping to see on customers.
Especially if those customers aren't cops.
But twice in as many weeks, Joe Citizen has walked into an Albuquerque establishment sporting police-type paraphernalia around the waist. Not surprisingly, both incidents , which police say are likely unrelated although similar, caused a stir.
In the latest incident, shortly after 10 p.m. Tuesday, 49-year-old Robert Lark walked into the Giant gas station at 201 Coors NW wearing a “police-style duty belt” complete with a holster holding a high-powered Glock handgun, according to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court.
“Concerned security guards” called police, who on arriving at the store, disarmed Lark and took him into custody, the complaint says. Lark's vehicle was towed, along with the duty belt.
In an interview with police, Lark said he knew he should not have entered the store armed to the teeth, the complaint states. But because the security guards did not confront him about the weapon, he “thought it was no big deal” and felt he was “OK.”
It is unclear whether Lark had a permit for the pistol.
Police took Lark to the Metropolitan Detention Center, where he was booked on a felony charge of unlawful carrying of a firearm in a licensed liquor establishment, the complaint says. He remained at the West Side jail Wednesday in lieu of a $2,500 cash or surety bond.
The first incident, in which an as yet-unidentified man in his 20s allegedly robbed a McDonald's manager on Wyoming NE on June 3 wearing full law enforcement regalia, spurred APD to copyright its patch and badge.
Robbery detectives planned to question Lark about the robbery on Wyoming NE but do not believe he was the perpetrator, police spokeswoman Nadine Hamby said. Investigators are pursuing another lead in that case.
As for the good name of APD: Police officials recently obtained a copyright for the department's patch and are in the process of getting one for its newly designed badges, which went into circulation last month.

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