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Man Arrested for Stealing Judge's Gavel


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  • Man Arrested for Stealing Judge's Gavel

    Man Arrested for Stealing Judge's Gavel


    LORAIN, Ohio - A Lorain County man is accused of causing some disorder in the court by stealing a judge's gavel right out of his courtroom.

    Christopher Collins, 47, of Packard Drive, was arrested on April 6, 2011 for allegedly stealing the gavel of Magistrate Daniel Cook, who oversees small claims cases at the Lorain Municipal Court.

    On April 4, Cook reached for his gavel after making a ruling and discovered it was missing.

    "About half way through a hearing that day I went to reach for my gavel , and it wasn't there," said Magistrate Cook.

    Cook says he began to think the gavel was stolen after checking every possible place he had ever kept the gavel.

    The gavel, which was engraved with his name, held a special place in Cook's heart. It was gift from his wife, Jessica, after Cook was appointed to the bench in October of 2005. The engraving read "Magistrate Daniel Cook, Lorain Municipal Court, from Jessica".

    Cook says he and his bailiff decided to check courtroom surveillance video, which Cook says is activated by a motion sensor.

    In looking at the video Cook and his bailiff saw Collins on tape reaching over the bench when no one was in the courtroom.

    "I'll be darned if we didn't see the guy reach up and take it," said Magistrate Cook.

    Police went to Collins home to question him on the whereabouts of the gavel. During questioning Collins admitted to stealing the item on March 30, but said he had left the gavel in the back of a man's car whom had given him a ride home from the courthouse.

    Cook says he doesn't understand Collin motive for stealing.

    "Other than the fact that he did what he did, stealing from a courtroom, which obviously isn't the smartest thing in the world to do," said Cook, "what are you going to do with my gavel, it's almost useless to anyone else."

    Collins was booked into the Lorain County jail on April 7, on a petty theft charge. He remains at the jail held on a $2,500 bond.

    Collins is scheduled to appear on the petty theft charge on April 28th.
    Look sharp, act sharp, be sharp.

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