2006-05-19 / Community

Police Recover Guns, Ammo From 'Collector'

By Brian Magoolaghan

78-00 Shore Front Parkway
78-00 Shore Front Parkway

Police recovered a cache of guns and ammo from an apartment on Shore Front Parkway and arrested a cooperator Tuesday after a female roommate called 911 and reported the firearms.

Officers from the 100 Precinct seized four handguns, a rifle and more than 100 rounds of ammunition from apartment 1-F inside 78-00 Shore Front Parkway. The cooperator, Levi A. Lewis, 63, faces 13 counts of weapons charges and 15 years in prison if convicted, according to a spokeswoman for Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown.

Lewis told detectives that he collected the weapons and ammo during his 17-year career as a housing evictions officer, according to court records. He said he turned in many of the guns he took at various NYPD precincts and kept some of the B.B. guns, starter pistols, ammo and "some of the real guns" for himself.

It was unclear whether Lewis collected payment from the NYPD under its Cash for Guns program. Police ran a search using the serial numbers on the guns and found that one of them, a .380 revolver, was reported stolen from a home in Detroit in 1993. The rifle confiscated by cops had its serial numbers filed off.

Law enforcement sources said Lewis, who pleaded guilty in 1984 to public lewdness, would not have been able to secure permits for his collection. He told detectives that he usually only handled the guns when he was cleaning them and never did "anything illegal" with them, according to court records.

Police went to Lewis' apartment at about 4 p.m. Tuesday after a woman who lives with him, Michelle Griffith, dialed 911 and reported a gun that was left out on Lewis' bed. Lewis told detectives that Griffith moved into his apartment about a year ago and has lived there rent-free ever since, according to court records. He said the woman, who does not share his bedroom, has called police on him several times because he is trying to evict her.

Lewis was arraigned Thursday on nine counts of criminal weapons possession, a firearms code violation, possession of an imitation handgun and three counts of unauthorized possession a pistol/revolver/ammunition. Criminal Court Judge Suzanne Melendez set bail at $50,000.

Lewis' attorney was not immediately available to comment.

Lewis is due back in court on June 1.

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