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Manchester Police: Helper From Church Stole Gun

A town resident who is moving to North Carolina got help from two men recruited from his church, but one of the movers helped himself to a handgun that was stowed in a cooler, police said.

Michael Starks, 24, of Hartford, was arrested recently and charged with fifth-degree larceny, stealing a firearm and carrying a pistol without a permit. He was released without having to post bail and is due in court on Dec. 7.

Starks and the other man from the victim’s Hartford church were helping with the move on Nov. 22, police said. After Starks left, the victim noticed that his .40-caliber Beretta handgun was missing from a blue case stowed inside an Igloo cooler, police said.

The victim and his wife immediately suspected Starks, police said. Starks initially denied stealing the gun, but after being told that investigators had gathered fingerprint and DNA evidence, he admitted taking it, police said. After he handed the gun over to an officer, Starks was arrested, police said.

Officers Peter Celio, Joshua Eastwood and Jason Wagner investigated.

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