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Firearm stolen from McDonald's recovered

BY GENEVIEVE POSTLETHWAIT gpostlethwait@paducahsun.com

Paducah police have made progress investigating a crime involving a man, a stolen gun and a McDonald's.

The investigation began July 31 when a man called police and reported that his .32-caliber revolver had been stolen from a booth at the Clarks River Road McDonald's.

The gun owner, who has a concealed carry license, told Officer Steve Thompson that he had the gun in the waistband of his pants at his back. It was uncomfortable when he sat down in a booth to eat, so he laid the gun on the seat next to him. He left his food - and unintentionally, his gun - at the table when he went outside with his friend to smoke. He told Thompson that when he returned a few minutes later to finish eating, the gun was gone.

Later that day police distributed a surveillance photograph of the suspected thief, and a number of calls to the Crime Stoppers tip line identified the man as 35-year-old Michael J. Lewis of Symsonia.

"It is an ongoing investigation, but the suspect has been identified and a warrant has been issued for his arrest," Thompson said.  "Attempts to contact him have not been successful, but hopefully this press coverage will get him to come in and turn himself over."

The warrant for Lewis' arrest charges him with theft by unlawful taking of a firearm, a Class D felony, as well as possession of a handgun by a convicted felon. Police recovered the handgun Aug. 1 and remains in the Paducah Police Department's evidence room.

According to Thompson, a McDonald's employee found the gun by the restaurant's dumpster after receiving a strange call from a man Thompson believes to have been Lewis.

"I didn't take the gun that night," the man reportedly told the employee, "but I moved it, and I left it out by the dumpster."

After the call, the employee checked the area around the dumpster, found the gun and called police. 

No charges have been brought against the gun owner, though the investigation is still open.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Lewis is asked to call the Paducah Police Department at 270-444-8550 or Crime Stoppers at 443-TELL. Tipsters may also access the online tip form through the City of Paducah website at paducahky.gov/paducah/west-ky-crime-stoppers. Information leading to an arrest or indictment may result in a reward of up to $1,000.

Contact Genevieve Postlethwait, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8651 or at gpostlethwait@paducahsun.com.

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