LAPD Officer Is Arrested in Weapons Probe
Responding to an anonymous tip, Los Angeles police arrested a West Valley Division patrol officer on suspicion of possessing an illegal weapon after he allegedly failed to book into evidence guns that had been turned over to him for safekeeping.
Richard Baubak Piffard, 29, was arrested without incident Dec. 14 on a West Valley street, and booked on suspicion of possessing an illegal silencer, police said. He was released after posting $20,000 bail.
Piffard, who joined the Los Angeles Police Department in 1995, has not been charged with any offense, but officials said he could face weapons charges, including possession of illegal assault rifles. The case is being reviewed by the Los Angeles County district attorney’s Judicial System Integrity Division.
LAPD spokesman Lt. Horace Frank said, “If there’s a silver lining to any of this, it’s that the person reporting it felt confident coming to the department, knowing that the matter would be fully investigated.”
Police said they received a tip several weeks ago that Piffard might possess illegal weapons. A source said that a San Fernando Valley woman had asked the officer to remove weapons from her home, but later called the LAPD and asked that they be returned. Unaware of the weapons, Piffard’s supervisors contacted the LAPD’s Internal Affairs Division, which investigated.
According to sources, police set up a sting in which Piffard picked up weapons from another house. He was arrested after he allegedly failed to turn them in. Police served warrants on Piffard’s locker at the West Valley station, his home, car and other locations, Frank said.
“During the search, we discovered evidence suggesting that he had a storage space in Las Vegas,” Frank said. There, LAPD officers, teamed with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, recovered numerous weapons, including an automatic MAC 11, AK-47 assault rifles, a Glock handgun and a .22-caliber long rifle equipped with a silencer.
The officer has been relieved of duty with one month’s pay, pending the outcome of the internal affairs investigation. In addition to possible criminal charges, he could face LAPD administrative charges. Piffard is due to appear in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Jan. 9.
His attorney, Darryl E. Mounger, said he was unable to comment Monday because “I have not seen any of the paperwork.”
Times staff writer Scott Glover contributed to this report.