Former police chief charged with felony after selling gun to pawn shop

The Hoxie Police Chief is on paid leave after a police department gun was sold to a Lawrence...
The Hoxie Police Chief is on paid leave after a police department gun was sold to a Lawrence County pawn shop, the city attorney confirmed.(Source: KAIT-TV)
Published: Jan. 17, 2023 at 8:06 PM CST
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HOXIE, Ark. (KAIT) – The former Hoxie Police Chief is facing felony charges after an investigation into a pawned police department gun.

According to the affidavit for an arrest warrant, an Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division Special Agent, determined former chief Glen Smith stole a police department-owned gun to pay “for a cell phone bill.”

In the court documents, the special agent wrote he was contacted on Aug. 4, 2022, to investigate the illegal purchase and sale of the firearm by Third Judicial Prosecuting Attorney C. Ryan Cooper.

The investigation began, according to the documents, after a citizen notified members of the council and the city attorney about a possible rifle at Russell’s Pawn store in Walnut Ridge that may have been owned by the city.

The affidavit for arrest stated the gun was originally bought by the city for $800 from Highway 67 Gun and Gold in Pocahontas in the spring of 2021 before, according to court documents, Smith sold it to the Walnut Ridge pawn shop for $300.

The ASP investigator found Hoxie’s mayor, Dennis Coggins, paid $600 to Russell’s Pawn store to get the gun back after he was made aware of the gun being at the store.

“Coggins stated the shotgun belonged to the city of Hoxie,” the affidavit said. “Coggins stated Smith told him that he ‘was under the influence’ when he sold the shotgun to Russell’s Pawn. Coggins stated he never told Smith that the shotgun belonged to him.”

Smith, who was able to retire from the Hoxie Police Department after a short, paid suspension while the gun sale was investigated, signed a statement admitting he illegally took the shotgun, according to the affidavit. In the statement, Smith said he pawned the gun on Sept. 29, 2021, for $300 to Russell’s Pawn Shop.

“I pawned the shotgun because I needed money for a cell phone bill,” the statement Smith signed read. “I had intentions of retrieving the shotgun from the pawn shop but never could come up with the money to get it out of pawn. I knew the shotgun belonged to the city of Hoxie and I knew it was not mine.”

Mayor Coggins had no comment to Region 8 News anchor and investigative reporter Chris Carter when contacted about the charges. Coggins told Carter he considered the case closed and would not be taking any actions to get salary paid to Smith during the paid suspension back.

City council member Darryl Pickney told Carter he “knew [Smith] was guilty and the law should take care of it appropriately.”

Becky Linebaugh, another Hoxie City Council Member, said she was not contacted about the charges when asked. Calls to other members of the city council went unanswered.

Smith is charged with felony theft of property. He was released on his own recognizance.

The former police chief is scheduled to be back in court on Mar. 27.