Serving the citizens of Clear Creek, Eagle, Summit and Lake Counties

Former Leadville Police Department Chief Pleads Guilty to Felony Weapons Theft from Evidence Locker

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, Dec. 1, 2017
Contact: John Bryan, PIO
JBryan@da5.us
C: 478-954-1909
LEAKE_MICHAEL_ROBERT

LEADVILLE, COLORADO – Michael Robert Leake, 52, of Aurora, Colorado, who was Police Chief in the
City of Leadville from 2009 until his resignation in December 2015, pleaded guilty today in Lake
County District Court to Theft (a Class Four Felony) and Providing False Information to a
Pawnbroker (a Class Six Felony). He faces a prison sentence of up to four years and is
scheduled to be sentenced on February 23, 2018 at 10:00 A.M.

Charges were originally filed against Leake on March 29, 2016 in the Lake County District Court
after an investigation spearheaded by the District Attorney’s office and assisted by the Colorado
Bureau of Investigation, resulted in fourteen felony charges including, Theft, Embezzlement,
Forgery. Some of the acts Leake admitted to today include pawning firearms belonging to the
Leadville Police Department at Englewood and Aurora pawn shops, during
2013-2015.

Defendant’s scheme involved maintaining exclusive control over the evidence room so that other
persons could not monitor storage and removal of items, kept there for safekeeping. Then-Chief
Leake removed several firearms, taking them to Denver-area pawn shops where he represented falsely
that he had lawful ownership of the guns, a violation of Colorado law known as giving false
information to a pawnbroker. Other firearms cashed in by Leake had been purchased by the City of
Leadville for police force use.

Leake also brazenly deposited a check from the City’s General Fund for $2,262 made to “M&J
Ammunition Wholesale”, intended to be for a police force ammunition purchase, to his personal bank
account on December 17, 2015.

When the City noticed some irregularities at the beginning of 2016, the District Attorney’s office
commenced the investigation, including a search of Leake’s Leadville apartment where a safe was
cracked, leading to recovery of a Remington model 700 bolt action 308 rifle, belonging to the City.
Additional investigation included forensic testing at the CBI lab identifying Leake’s
fingerprints on pawn receipts.

Many of the firearms stolen by Leake have now been recovered and returned to the Police
Department’s armory.

“It is sickening that a Chief, entrusted with tracking down crime and preserving the peace, so
brazenly treated a small City’s assets as his own. Leadville is a Colorado gem whose rich history
is blemished by Leake’s greed. While we know that some new regulatory oversight and vigilant
investigation of cases like this by my office and the always capable Colorado Bureau of
Investigation, can deter any repetition of this type of scheme, the bottom line is that we need
to be able to trust that stewards of public money and property, will not take advantage of the
confidence placed in them by the public,” said District Attorney Bruce Brown.

In 2017 the Colorado Legislature modified forfeiture laws, by passage of HB17-1313, requiring
public disclosure of detailed police records of seizures and forfeited proceed expenditures, by
local law enforcement. Each seizing agency will now be responsible for filing reports twice each
year. The requirements took affect this year and agencies must first file their reports on June
30, 2018. Failure to file a report can subject a law enforcement agency to monetary penalties.

District Attorney Bruce Brown’s District Attorney’s office makes it a priority to protect the
public from official misconduct and theft of government property, and has included the following
convictions and investigations:

Voter fraud (see http://www.da5.us/2014/06/district-attorney-completes-City-of-
montezuma-voter-investigation/)

County Clerk worker theft (see https://www.vaildaily.com/news/crime/local-woman-
sentenced-for-stealing-county-funds/)

Grand County Commissioner embezzlement (see
http://www.denverpost.com/2015/11/20/grand-county-commissioner-admits-to-
public-embezzlement-resigns/)

Lake County Sergeant weapons embezzlement (see
http://www.leadvilleherald.com/free_content/article_596dd112-d043-11e5-92a5-
3b9e21faf2be.html)

Welfare fraud (see https://www.vaildaily.com/news/six-arrested-in-lake-county- welfare-fraud/)

If you have information about fraud occurring in your community, please contact your local law
enforcement agency or send in a report to the District Attorney’s office at:
http://www.da5.us/answers-and-info/ask-the-da/ .

Note: All persons charged with crimes are presumed innocent until the contrary is proven in a
court of law.
-DA5-