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A former Hingham police officer, who admitted to stealing expensive specialty knives and flashlights from a local cutlery store, could ultimately have the felony charges against him dismissed.
In a ruling that is drawing a negative reaction from law enforcement officials, Judge Kevin O'Dey continued the case without a finding for two years during an Oct. 19 hearing at Hingham District Court.
That means if Dennis Love - who was a six-year veteran of the police department when he committed the thefts - stays out of trouble for that period of time, the charges will be dismissed.
Police Chief Steven Carlson did not mince words about his disappointment in the judge's decision.
"The sentence is out of line," Carlson said. "Police officers and people in the law enforcement industry are held to a higher standard because they are in a position of trust.
"The appropriate finding would have been guilty and he would not have been able to have the sentence dismissed in two years," he said. "The fact is one officer who worked here is a thief. He should not be able to work in law enforcement in this state or any other state."
Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz said prosecutors recommended a guilty finding with two-year suspended prison sentence.
"But the judge in this case issued a continued without a finding of two years meaning if he abides by all the terms and conditions of his sentence, there will not be a conviction," Cruz said. "This individual should have been found guilty. While I respect the judge's decision, I disagree with it."
Cruz explained with the ruling, dubbed a CWOF, there is no conviction on a person's record, so when the individual applies for a job he or she does not have to answer "yes" to the question about having ever been convicted of a felony.
Love, who faced four counts of larceny of property valued at over $250, admitted to sufficient facts for a finding of guilty.
Although the charges involve several incidents last May, Love had been stealing from Sawyer's Cutlery, 33 Whiting St. (Rte. 53) for roughly a year before then

Police launched an investigation after being notified by the owner, James Fox, that items were missing after Love stopped by the store.
Subsequent searches of Love's police locker, personal car, and home revealed numerous items identified as having been stolen from the store with an estimated preliminary value of $13,000.
Fox said when Love came into the store, he was always on duty and always in uniform. Fox said Love would explain he was looking at items for the police department or conducting surveillance in the parking lot or area.

"He stole 63 items over a year and walked away with a sentence that is less than most 18-year-old shoplifters get," Fox said. "I really think he should have been treated more severely. It's unbelievable that he could have his record wiped clean."
Fox said due to a bureaucratic glitch, his court advocate did not notify him of last week's hearing.
He said he was told there would be a restitution hearing in December but is concerned that he will never recoup the value of the stolen items.
"The knives, for example, are highly collectible and serialized," Fox explained. "They are worth $300-$400 brand new, but if there is rust or a blemish on them - it's like a statue with a chip, they lose value."
Fox said he submitted a list to the state police containing all the items Love stole. He hopes the state police will bring further charges.
Love, who lives in Kingston, resigned from the police department June 3 rather than face a termination hearing. He had been on paid administrative leave since May 26.
In court papers, Love stated he had been stealing from Sawyer's Cutlery for about a year and could not pinpoint a starting date. He said he did not know why he stole the items and that he had ruined his career. He stated he took advantage of the opportunity "because I could."
Love told investigators he had acted alone and had no plans for what was taken. He had not sold any of the items or given them away as gifts

The search also revealed several firearms in his vehicle, including a handgun which was loaded and unsecured by a locking mechanism. Love was also charged with leaving a firearm within a vehicle and improper storage of a firearm.
The judge ordered Love to stay away from Sawyer's Cutlery. He was also sentenced to six months supervised and 18 months unsupervised or administrative probation.
Love's attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.
 

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F-ing outrageous, caught on duty, in uniform, an absolute travesty of justice that sends the wrong message to the rest of us law abiding sworn personnel. A real piece of sh--, he should never been alowed to c.w.o.f.. What's next, a new job in l.e. for him?
 
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