Crime & Courts

Former NC police chief arrested for selling confiscated guns he should have returned, cops say

Charlotte Observer file

The former chief of a North Carolina police department has been arrested and faces charges of selling confiscated guns, according to law enforcement.

Eric Tinsley worked for the Biltmore Forest Police Department for 27 years, including 11 as the chief of police, before retiring in 2017, according to the Citizen Times.

During his service as police chief, Tinsley is accused of unauthorized sales of firearms by the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation, WSPA reported.

According to a news release from investigators, Tinsley “refused to turn over the firearms to the rightful owners after the related criminal cases had been disposed in court,” per WLOS.

The investigation also found that Tinsley did not have the required authorization to sell the guns, according to foxcarolina.com.

Investigators said Tinsley sold the guns to a “Federal Firearms Licensee for less than the retail values,” and then the Biltmore Forest Police Department received a credit for the sales, WSPA reported.

The former police chief then bought the guns for himself at “a price slightly above the traded in prices,” the State Bureau of Investigation said, according to WLOS, which previously reported that Tinsley is a gun collector who also deals with used weapons.

Tinsley was charged with two counts of willfully failing to discharge duties, and turned himself in, foxcarolina.com reported.

His successor in Biltmore Forest, T.J. Bates, and Buncombe County District Attorney Todd M. Williams had requested that the SBI investigate Tinsley, WSPA said.

Bates never had Tinsley as a supervisor, as he was the assistant police chief for Granite Falls for 12 years prior to succeeding Tinsley, according to the Citizen Times. Bates was replaced by Chris Beddingfield in February of 2018, WLOS reported.

The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is investigating Catawba County Sheriff candidate Jason Reid after an ex-girlfriend accused him of stalking her.

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