By Jonathan Austin
Yancey County News
Research by the Yancey County News
suggests that at least one semi-automatic pistol listed as part of the Yancey County Sheriff’s Department weapons inventory has been pawned in Asheville.
The newspaper investigation suggests that the weapon - a Sig Sauer pistol bought for the sheriff’s department in 2003, was pawned at Alan’s Pawn in late January.
Records that pawn shops must compile for law enforcement agencies regarding each pawn transaction say the individual pawning the weapon identified himself as Thomas Lloyd Farmer.
That is the name of the chief deputy at the sheriff’s department, the second in command and the person who would be immediately named sheriff in the event the office became vacant.
Sheriff Gary Banks was not available for comment Thursday morning when the Yancey County News
was able to verify that the gun in question is listed on the department inventory. Farmer was not at the office, a dispatcher said, and another ranking officer said she couldn’t speak about the situation.
According to information received and independently verified by the newspaper, the Sig Sauer - serial number U684142 - was pawned on January 22 in the afternoon.
The newspaper contacted County Manager Nathan Bennett with the information about the possible pawning of the weapon, and he said he contacted the county attorney.
County Attorney Donny Laws was not available for comment Thursday afternoon.
The next story: County Commission asks for criminal investigation.
The March 10 editorial on the Tom Farmer case