HOXIE — A Lawrence County circuit judge found probable cause on Jan. 12 to charge former Hoxie Police Chief Glen Junior Smith with theft of property/firearms valued at less than $2,500.
Third Judicial Circuit Judge Rob Ratton released Smith on his own recognizance on the charge.
According to the probable cause affidavit, Smith told investigators during an Aug. 25, 2022, interview that he purchased a tactical semi-automatic shotgun for use by the police department from the Highway 67 Guns and Gold pawn shop.
Witness James Ditto of Barnhill Glass and Collision in Hoxie told investigators in the spring of 2021 that Smith contacted him about purchasing a shotgun for the department. Ditto told Smith that Michael Skeet owned the pawn shop in Pocahontas. Ditto said Smith bought the gun for $600 and that Skeet requested a documentation from the city of Hoxie with its letterhead on it.
Ditto said he was shopping in Russell’s Pawn in Walnut Ridge on Aug. 2, 2022, and saw the same shotgun for sale on the gun rack at the store.
According to the affidavit, Ditto recognized the gun from markings on the magazine tube clamp. He called Hoxie Mayor Dennis Coggins and told him the shotgun the city had purchased was in the possession of the pawn store. Ditto stated Coggins called him as liar, the affidavit states.
Coggins also said he contacted Hoxie City Attorney Nancy Hall, some members of the Hoxie City Council and Lt. Brant Tosh of the Arkansas State Police.
Ditto said he was told by Hall that on the day he saw the shotgun at Russell’s that Coggins went to the pawn shop and gave $600 for the shotgun and then Smith came and retrieved it that day, the affidavit states.
ASP Special Agent David Moss said he interviewed Coggins at Hoxie City Hall on Aug. 25, 2022. Coggins told him Smith wanted to purchase the shotgun to use for shooting beanbag rounds.
Moss’ affidavit states that Coggins said when he was told by Ditto that the gun was at Russell’s in August 2022, he went to the pawn shop and purchased the gun for $600. Coggins stated to Smith that the gun belonged to the city and that the shotgun was never listed under the city’s inventory.
Coggins said Smith told him that he “was under the influence” when he sold the shotgun to Russell’s, according to the affidavit.
On Nov. 2, 2022, Moss interviewed Smith. “On or about June 16, 2021, the city of Hoxie paid $800 for a Remington 12 gauge 1100 tactical shotgun bearing the serial number R296968V from Mike Skeet. On September 29, 2021, I pawned the shotgun for $300.00 at Russell’s Pawn Shop in Walnut Ridge,” Smith wrote. “On August 2, 2022, Hoxie Mayor Dennis Coggins paid $600 for the shotgun at Russell’s. The next day I paid him back and went and picked up the shotgun and took it back to the Hoxie Police Department. I pawned the shotgun because I needed money for a cell phone bill. I had intentions of retrieving the shotgun from the pawn shop but could never come up with the money to get it out of pawn. I knew the shotgun belonged to the cit of Hoxie and I knew it was not mine.”
After returning from administrative leave on Aug. 22, Smith submitted a retirement resignation effective Sept. 13, 2022.
Smith is charged with a Class D felony, which is punishable by up to six years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
Smith’s next court date is March 27 in Lawrence County Circuit Court.