Farmington man faces firearm theft charge; police seek help finding stolen rifle


FARMINGTON — A local man was arrested on a felony charge of theft of firearms Thursday night.

Police have recovered one of two guns taken from a New Vineyard Road home Tuesday and now seek the public’s help to locate the second firearm — a Winchester .30-30 lever-action rifle with serial number 5399756 — Farmington police Chief Jack Peck said Friday.

Harley Witherell, 29, of Farmington was arrested on the felony charge after police searched his New Vineyard Road home, Peck said.

On Jan. 1, police were contacted by a resident of New Vineyard Road, who reported that someone had entered his home and stolen a rifle and a shotgun, Peck said.  He suspected that it was his neighbor, who was house-sitting for him and had access to the home.

Through their investigation, police found that the neighbor, Witherell, had the guns and was selling them, Peck said.

A person who purchased the shotgun without realizing it was stolen, but later heard of the investigation, contacted police and told them he had purchased it from Witherell.

Armed with a search warrant, police searched Witherell’s home Thursday night, but didn’t find the other firearm.

They arrested Witherell at about 8:45 p.m. and took him to Franklin County Detention Center. Witherell was also charged with violation of conditions of release.

Anyone who may have purchased the rifle unaware of the circumstances is asked to contact the Farmington Police Department at 778-6311.

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