Officer Faces Federal Gun Charges


Wednesday, March 5th 2008, 4:54 pm
By: News On 6


Tulsa Police say one of their own is behind a scheme to steal police guns and sell them online.  Buddy Visser is suspended without pay.  The News On 6's Ashli Sims reports the 17-year veteran police officer faces federal charges.

Buddy Visser's job was to train his fellow officers on guns.  Federal prosecutors say he took advantage of his access to department-owned guns to turn a quick buck.

Gunbroker.com is billed as the world's largest online auction of firearms and accessories.  Federal prosecutors say one of the gun brokers is really a gun thief and a long-time member of the Tulsa Police Department.

"What we had believed to be possibly not true has been proved to be absolutely true," said Tulsa Police Chief Ron Palmer.

Visser used to work as a firearms instructor at TPD's gun range.  Federal prosecutors say there he had access to department owned guns and ammunition.  And, they believe Visser stole at least eight guns, ranging from Glocks to semi-automatic pistols, and advertised them on a website.  Investigators say he sold the guns, which cost the city about $450 each, and deposited the money in his checking account at the Fraternal Order of Police Credit Union.

"The whole scheme eventually was doomed for failure. It went a lot longer than we would have liked for it to have gone. At this point, we're glad we found it when we did," said Tulsa Police Chief Ron Palmer.

Chief Palmer says he was disturbed to discover some of the department's guns missing.  So, he's revamping security and inventory software at the gun range.

"The city auditor has already been to the pistol range and he's helping us develop better," said Tulsa Police Chief Ron Palmer.

Chief Palmer actually fired Buddy Visser for excessive force, during his last stint as chief of police.  But, Visser was later reinstated. 

A call to Officer Visser was not returned.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Tulsa Police Department originally told the News on 6 that Buddy Visser was accused of selling department-owned guns on his website, gunbroker.com. The department said gunbroker.com was not a third-party website, but a site operated by Visser. After a viewer question, the U.S. Attorney has clarified that gunbroker.com is not operated by Visser. We have updated this web story to reflect the correct information.

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