Mass. prison employee charged with stealing funds

BOSTON (AP) — A Massachusetts Department of Correction employee has been charged with stealing more than $100,000 in state money to purchase semiautomatic firearms and other law enforcement equipment for personal use.

State Department of Correction lieutenant Gary Mendes was arrested yesterday and arraigned on charges of stealing $100,000 worth of firearms, ammunition and specialized equipment from the department.

 Gary Mendes, a lieutenant in the department’s special operations, pleaded not guilty to larceny and fraud charges on Wednesday in Greenfield District Court. He was released on personal recognizance.

Attorney General Martha Coakley said the 48-year-old Berkley resident was arrested at his home Wednesday morning.

Coakley said Mendes ordered more items than needed from vendors and use vendor credit to purchase other equipment.

Coakley said he also purchased firearms for other employees, but she didn’t believe any other workers broke laws.

Mendes has been suspended with pay from his $75,000-a-year job.

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