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Michael R. Sisak

Sep. 17--WILKES-BARRE -- Former Kingston police Detective Daniel Griffin walked gingerly from the witness stand Tuesday, moving his hand along the edge of the jury box as he returned to his seat after testifying for more than an hour on the second day of his trial on theft by deception, records tampering and forgery charges.
Griffin, who suffers from effects of a January 2006 back injury, denied allegations he used department letterhead and the forged signature of former Chief Daniel Beky to purchase a semi-automatic police shotgun for personal use in 2003.
Griffin, 45, of Swoyersville, did admit altering the purchase price listed on the gun's receipt in an attempt to obtain a greater equipment reimbursement for the weapon.
"I basically bought the weapon for the municipality," Griffin said. "I have no personal interest in the gun, I don't sleep with it. I bought it for the department."
Griffin purchased a modified version of a 12-gauge Remington 11-87 semi-automatic shotgun from Firing Line Inc. in Philadelphia in February 2003 for $519, prosecutors said. He used an altered version of an official department purchase order and a "convenience check" drawn on a personal credit card account.
Griffin said he "amended" the receipt in May 2007 after learning the retail price of the gun had increased to $819. He submitted it at that time with his request for the department's uniform and equipment reimbursement, which is capped each year at $640.
"I never intended to deceive anybody out of anything," Griffin said. "I just wanted my clothing allowance, which I was entitled to."
Griffin served as a firearms instructor for the department and as its main point of contact for weapons and ammunition purchases. He registered the weapon in the name of the Kingston Police Department and testified that the department retained ownership of the weapon.
Anthony Forray, the senior deputy state attorney general who is prosecuting the case, said the letters written by Griffin on department letterhead clouded the true ownership of the gun.
"Have you ever heard the expression, 'The cover up is worse than the crime?" Forray asked Griffin.

Story From:The Citizens' Voice
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