An Independence man who left a loaded gun in an Independence Police car after officers missed the gun when frisking him will spend more than four years in federal prison.
Christopher Roche, 50, pleaded guilty in August 2016 in U.S. District Court to possession of a stolen firearm after his arrest the previous month for attempting to pass counterfeit money. He was sentenced Monday to 51 months in federal prison, with supervised release for three years.
According to court documents, Independence Police found Roche with nine counterfeit $50 bills after stopping his car last summer, and he also had multiple city warrants for his arrest. While being transported, Roche placed the 9mm handgun between the front passenger seat and the prisoner cage area of the patrol car. Police later found the gun when they conducted a pre-shift vehicle check.
Roche, who had several prior felony convictions, told investigators the arresting officer missed finding the gun, which he knew was loaded. He said he did not believe the officer deserved to be shot “because he had acted professional” toward Roche. When asked, Roche said he might have considered shooting if the officer had been unprofessional. He believed the gun likely had been stolen because the person he obtained it from always had stolen items for sale.
The gun was found to have been stolen during a vehicle burglary in Lee's Summit, according to court documents.
Roche’s previous convictions included burglary, drug possession and distribution, fraud, theft and aggravated assault of a police officer. Court records show he still faces charges in Jackson County Circuit Court for felony and misdemeanor theft.