(CBS) — Two police guns — an Uzi machine gun and a semi-automatic handgun — have vanished from a suburban police department. Was a troubled officer involved?
CBS 2 Investigator Dave Savini exposes the alleged theft as well as a failure to investigate it.
A powerful .9-mm Uzi and a semi-automatic Glock have both allegedly vanished under the watch of former Elmwood Park Police Sgt. John Wasilenko.
The guns went missing from the Elmwood Park Police Training Center, where police have their gun range. Sgt. Wasilenko was range master.
The 2014 theft report identifies the still-missing weapons and says Wasilenko was allegedly seen selling the Uzi for $1,000.
Elmwood Park officials say they asked the Illinois State Police to take over the case. But state police officials say they were never formally asked to investigate.
No one has investigated the vanishing guns or the possible link to an officer who has been in trouble before.
In 2014, Wasilenko was criminally charged and accused of bilking 85-year-old, dementia-suffering Angelo Ditore out of $20,000. He allegedly cashed a check made out to himself from Ditore’s account.
Wasilenko resigned from the department and then was cleared this year by a judge in the Ditore case. Records show Ditore’s bank considered this a forged check and restored his funds.
Before Ditore’s case, there were still other allegations against Wasilenko.
In 2012, Wasilenko allegedly used police resources to follow, harass and run illegal background checks on three men in Elmwood Park after he got involved with their estranged wives or girlfriends he met on domestic calls. He served a 35-day suspension.
The complaint about the missing guns, which fell through the cracks, means a fully automatic Uzi and semiautomatic hand gun may be on the street in the wrong hands.
Elmwood Park Police Chief Frank Fagiano says he asked state police to investigate. State authorities say they were not asked to investigate misconduct; rather, they were brought in under protocol to take Wasilenko’s personal guns when he was criminally charged in Ditore’s case.
Wasilenko did not comment for this story.
Here are the complete statements from the Village of Elmwood Park and the Illinois State Police.
Elmwood Park: “Following its own independent discovery, in March 2014, the Elmwood Park police reported to the Illinois State Police that two weapons were found to be missing from its range. The Illinois State Police have an ongoing and open investigation in the case.
“The Elmwood Park Police Department immediately instituted new policies and procedures in the firearm range inventory of the department. The new procedures require a redundant and thorough monthly accounting of all firearms held at the range.”
Illinois State Police: “In March, 2014, the Illinois State Police (ISP) Firearms Investigation Unit (FIU) opened an investigation into John Wasilenko due to a FOID card revocation. ISP personnel recovered firearms and ammunition from Wasilenko’s residence, which he was prohibited to have under the FOID act. The only formal investigation ever initiated by the ISP was for the firearms, ammunition and FOID recovery from John Wasilenko. The ISP never received a formal written request from the Elmwood Park Police Department to investigate on-duty misconduct by John Wasilenko.”