Former West Mifflin police chief sued over gun collection
A former West Mifflin police chief recently released from federal prison has been sued by the widow of a former patrolman who accuses him of illegally taking and then selling the couple's sizable gun collection.
Adrienne Devine, 40, of West Mifflin is suing Frank Diener and the borough, claiming the former chief used her late husband's problem with alcohol to take possession of approximately 100 weapons and accessories. The 13-page lawsuit claims Diener obtained the property in spring 2003 and promised to return it once Alan Devine recovered from "his disease."
Alan Devine died in August 2005 at age 39. Attorney Ronald Conway, who represents Adrienne Devine, said the death was alcohol-related.
"It's a sad story that only got sadder," Conway said.
Edmond Joyal, a lawyer representing Diener, 59, and the borough, could not be reached.
Adrienne Devine claims she and her husband jointly owned the gun collection and that she never gave Diener permission to take control of the weapons. After she learned the guns were taken, Conway said, Diener convinced her that it was done for her husband's well-being, and said the weapons would be logged in at the police department and returned at the couple's request.
Federal agents eventually questioned Adrienne Devine about why weapons registered to her late husband were being recovered at crime scenes.
The lawsuit, filed in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court but moved Wednesday to U.S. District Court, claims many, if not all, of the weapons were illegally sold or transferred after Diener took them.
Court records show a Munhall man told investigators that Diener sold him a pistol, which belonged to Alan Devine, for $700.
The lawsuit states a few weapons were recovered by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and FBI.
The federal Bureau of Prisons Web site shows Diener was released from prison May 30. He was sentenced in May 2007 to a year and a day in prison. He pleaded guilty in 2006 to obstructing justice and violating drug laws.
Prosecutors said Diener stole drugs and other items from the department's evidence room, including a video gambling machine, a generator, computers and $10,000 worth of tools.
Prosecutors claimed Diener instructed two borough police officers to void traffic citations and that he obstructed investigations of an assault and a burglary. He pleaded guilty last year to 19 state charges and was sentenced to 10 to 20 months, which ran concurrent to his federal sentence.