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Texas lawman charged with stealing evidence guns

The Associated Press State & Local Wire, STATE AND REGIONAL

Houston, TX

A former Houston-area police officer has been charged with federal firearms violations after he allegedly kept weapons illegally that had been confiscated as evidence.

Prosecutors accused Harry Leroy Kelley of stealing more than 100 guns while in charge of the police evidence room in Cleveland, 45 miles northeast of Houston. They say Kelley, now a 55-year-old Liberty County sheriff's captain, falsely reported that he had destroyed the guns during a 17-year period with Cleveland police ending in 2009.

Kelley is charged with 103 stolen firearm counts and other charges.

Defense attorney Jack Zimmerman said Kelley pleaded not guilty Thursday and was released on his own recognizance.

Zimmerman said Kelley "didn't commit any crime."

A Liberty County sheriff's spokesman says Kelley has been placed on unpaid administrative leave.

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