Police concealed cop's gun crime, sources say
BY DAVID GAMBACORTA
Philadelphia Daily News
Posted on Mon, Aug. 1, 2011
HE STARTED crying, just a little at first, but then he couldn't stop, and the tears flowed like a waterfall.
Officer Anthony Magsam was in a world of trouble. It was August 2009, police sources said, and the young cop with high-ranking relatives in the Police Department had just tearfully confessed to stealing parts from two automatic weapons from the department's Firearms Identification Unit.
He found a measure of comfort from his boss, Lt. Vincent Testa, the commanding officer of the unit.
Rather than reporting Magsam, who allegedly committed a federal crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison, Testa agreed to quietly transfer him to another unit and not to report the theft, according to numerous sources with direct knowledge of the incident.
Everything went according to plan. Until now, that is.
On Friday, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey called for an audit of the FIU in light of the alleged cover-up, and he transferred Testa out of the unit.
The moves were made after the Daily News began inquiring about the transfer and about the Internal Affairs investigation, which appeared to have stalled after having been opened more than a year ago.
Also, the lead Internal Affairs investigator was replaced, as was Capt. Carmen Vuotto, who was overseeing the investigator's work. Vuotto previously worked in the FIU with Testa.
Left untouched, thus far, was Magsam, whose mother, Barbara Feeney, a longtime police sergeant, is married to retired police Chief Inspector Michael Feeney.
Federal crime left unpunished?
Magsam was known by colleagues in the FIU as a gun collector, and he spoke often about knowing how to convert semiautomatic weapons into automatic weapons, according to more than a half-dozen police sources who are familiar with the Internal Affairs investigation and Magsam's tenure in the unit.
When firearms examiners discovered that parts from an AR-15 and M2 carbine had been removed - and crudely replaced with parts from a semiautomatic weapon - many immediately suspected Magsam, the sources said.
The stolen parts were soon returned - and photographed by members of the FIU - and Magsam offered a tearful confession to Testa, the sources said.
Being in possession of stolen or unregistered automatic-weapon parts is a violation of the National Firearms Act, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
But Magsam was never reported, disciplined or arrested.
Continued at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20110801_Police_concealed_cop_s_gun_crime__sources_say.html
The Pennsylvania State Police are getting involved. Still no sign of the BATFE on this yet.
State Police to audit firearms unit
MONDAY, AUGUST 1, 2011
State Police will conduct the audit of the Police Department’s Firearms Identification Unit that Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey called for after the Daily News raised questions about alleged weapons tampering in the unit.
The People’s Paper reported today that after Officer Anthony Magsam was caught stealing parts from two automatic weapons in the unit, his supervisor, Lt. Vincent Testa agreed to quietly transfer him, according to several sources with knowledge of the incident.
Being in possession of automatic weapons parts is a federal crime punishable up to 10 years in prison.
Testa was removed from the unit last week.
“We’ll have a new look at the case and see what we’ve got,” Ramsey said yesterday. “We’re moving along very quickly. We’ll let the cards fall where they may.”