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Boys Face Charges in Stolen Gun Case

July 11, 2018

Mike Miles SUN FILE PHOTO Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

LOWELL -- Police detectives have cleared a well-known retired Lowell police officer of mishandling his small-caliber handgun, which was stolen from a motor vehicle parked in a Belvidere driveway last month -- but the case is far from closed.

An investigation is underway to find the handgun, sources told The Sun.

Also, two 15-year-old Lowell juveniles have been charged in connection with the theft of the gun. However, their cases were moved to the juvenile court session in Lawrence, in Essex County, due to a “conflict” that precluded the cases from being heard in the Lowell juvenile session.

According to sources, one of the juveniles is related to Lowell Juvenile Court clerk-magistrate Elizabeth Sheehy, prompting the change of venue to Lawrence. Carrie Kimball-Monahan, a spokesman for Essex District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett, could not immediately be reached for comment.

The theft occurred on June 5 and was reported to police the next day. The firearm was in a locked motor vehicle belonging to Michael Miles of Dracut, a former Lowell police officer. Interim Lowell Police Superintendent Jonathan Webb told The Sun the firearm was in a knapsack-like carrying bag. It was properly secured with a locking mechanism, Webb said.

State law requires guns to be stored in a specific manner. All guns, when not in use, with the exception of primitive firearms, must be stored or kept “secured in a locked container or equipped with a tamper-resistant mechanical lock or other safety device,” to prevent unauthorized use.

Because the motor vehicle was locked and the firearm’s locking mechanism was engaged, Webb said police detectives did not find Miles in violation of state law.

Webb declined to discuss the matter further. However, sources told The Sun it appeared the firearm was not loaded, as its ammunition was recovered. The same sources told The Sun that investigators solved the case with the help of the suspects’ cellphones. The juveniles apparently documented the alleged crime on social-media platforms, the sources said.

Miles declined to comment. His lawyer, Scott Bratton of Lowell, said: “While denying any wrongdoing, Mr. Miles is unable to comment in this matter at this time upon the advice of legal counsel due to the ongoing police investigation and juvenile court proceedings.”

When Miles retired from the Lowell Police Department in April 2015, after a 25-year career, he received accolades from colleagues and community leaders for his work in helping others with substance-abuse issues. Miles used his own personal experience as a recovering alcoholic and drug abuser to revive his police career and later become a mental-health and abuse counselor. At a retirement party in Dracut, Miles recounted how he has been sober since 1985.

Miles also served on the Dracut School Committee for six years.

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