State trooper charged with taking flash-bang grenades
PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona officer who was a firearms instructor for the state police department has been charged with theft and weapons misconduct after investigators found eight of the agency’s “flash bang” grenades at his home.
Trooper John Petculescu, an 18-year veteran who had been assigned to the Department of Public Safety firearms training unit for the past eight years, made an initial court appearance Friday but didn’t enter a plea to the charges. His case was assigned to a public defender, who will be appointed later.
The 45-year-old was released without bond, but the judge ordered him to be fitted with an electronic monitoring device. He has been suspended from his job.
A probable cause statement supporting the charges shows Petculescu’s wife told another trooper that her husband may have misappropriated ammunition and guns from the agency. DPS detectives went to Petculescu’s home in the community of New River on Tuesday and his wife allowed them to search the home.
The search turned up thousands of rounds of loose ammunition and other ammo that was in boxes similar to what the agency buys.
Detectives also found eight flash-bang grenades used by SWAT teams — a non-lethal device designed to stun suspects by creating a loud noise and a flash of light — that were traced to DPS. There is no indication in the court record that detectives found agency-owned weapons.
Petculescu faces eight misdemeanor counts of theft and eight felony counts of misconduct involving weapons that stem from possessing the devices.
In court Friday, Petculescu said little, only giving his name and date of birth.