A California man who once managed a gun shop owned by the Los Angeles Police Revolver and Athletic Club has been accused of stealing firearms and falsifying official paperwork. The 33-year-old man’s alleged activities are said to have come to light during an audit of the store, which is located inside the Los Angeles Police Academy in Elysian Park. Prosecutors say that he stole almost 40 guns over a period of several years and then sold them to deputies and officers at reduced prices.

An investigation was launched when auditors checked the gun store’s inventory and records and allegedly discovered missing guns, empty gun boxes and paperwork irregularities. The audit was conducted in March. Prosecutors say that the man may have turned to illegal gun sales to cover monthly expenses that included a $700 per month child support obligation. He earned about $4,000 per month working at the store.

The man was taken into custody by LAPD officers on March 19. He was booked on a charge of suspicion of grand theft the following day. He was released from the department’s Metropolitan Detention Center after posting a bail in the amount of $45,000. Prosecutors say that some of the law enforcement officers and deputies who purchased guns from him could also face charges. Most of the allegedly stolen guns have been turned in to detectives investigating the case, but 12 of them are yet to be accounted for according to media reports.

Prosecutors tend to treat property crimes like theft far more seriously when firearms are involved, but experienced criminal defense attorneys may argue for more lenient penalties when presented with facts like these. Attorneys could claim that selling weapons to police officers does not pose the same threat to the community that selling them to criminals would, and they may also argue that the amount of money involved was not significant and was used to support a dependent child.