Manchester-by-the-Sea police officer resigns after gun sale probe

A Manchester-by-the-Sea police officer, who served as the department’s firearms instructor, has resigned after he sold a private gun a town resident had placed with the department for safekeeping, officials said Friday.

Howard Lewis, a veteran member of the North Shore department, sold a vintage German Luger for $650 through a licensed firearms dealer in Gloucester, Chief Edward Conley said in a press release.

“In this instance, an officer circumvented the department’s evidence system by failing to report that he was in possession of private property and then selling that property for his own gain,” Conley said.


Lewis’s resignation was announced less than a month after he was placed on administrative leave on Dec. 15, following an investigation within the department. He appointed to the force in 2008 as a reserve officer, and as a full-time officer in June, 2010, the statement said.

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The probe began after the son of the gun owner came to the department on Nov 19, and asked to retrieve the gun.

The gun ownwer’s wife had asked the department to keep the gun in storage in 2014. “However, no such firearm could be located at the police station,” police said in the statement.

An e-mail about the missing gun was sent to members of the department. An internal investigation then followed, according to the release.

The results showed that Lewis had sold the firearm through a dealer in neighboring Gloucester. “Faced with the evidence of the investigation, Lewis resigned from the department,” police said.


There is no indication that any other guns, evidence, or property is missing from the department, police said.

Manchester police reimbursed the family for the gun and apologized.

“This action violated the public trust and violated the very mission of the Manchester Police Department, and I am satisfied with the outcome,” Conley said. “I again extend my sincere apology to the family who was affected by these actions.”

Police consulted the Essex district attorney’s office on the investigation, according to the release.

Carrie Kimball Monahan, a spokeswoman for the DA’s office said Friday night that Lewis is not facing charges “at this time.”

Alejandro Serrano can be reached at