• WQTC 102.3

School security guard busted for pawning gun and body armor

It's a sad commentary on the times in which we're living that more and more schools are hiring armed security guards to ensure the safety of students. 

Of course, you've also got to have confidence that the security guard will take the job seriously.  And not, say, pawn his county-issued equipment.

But that's what the Pinellas County, Florida, Sheriff's Office says Erick Russell did.  According to WFLA-TV, the 37-year-old pawned his Glock 17 9mm handgun and two magazines, as well as his body armor, on several occasions because, as Russell allegedly admitted, he needed gas money.

Detectives say Russell pawned the Glock twice in July for $200 the first time and $60 the second.  The magazines, he also pawned twice, once in July for $10 and again in August for $15 dollars.  And the body armor was pawned once in July for $200.  Each time, he purchased the items back from the pawn shop.

All of the pawned equipment, by the way, was issued to Russell by the sheriff's office to outfit him for his duties as a school security guard.  Even so, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri was sympathetic.

“This was never a situation where he was selling anything. What he was doing is trying to put gas in his car and food on the table,” said the sheriff.  "You know, people have hard times in their lives and sometimes do desperate things.”

Russell reportedly confessed to the crimes and was arrested without incident.

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