Investigation in stolen police officers car turned over to special prosecutor

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ST. CLAIR COUNTY, MO (KTVI) - FOX 2 has learned of a big twist in the investigation into an unmarked police car reported stolen in Granite City.

It turns out the initial story, wasn’t the whole story.

When Fox 2 reported it last month, police were alarmed: the car and six guns, a number of them the officer's personal weapons, were missing.

FOX 2 has now learned, the case is headed for a special prosecutor and the officer, a 27-year veteran, has suddenly retired.

Granite City Police Lt. Thomas Paul reported his car, a 2014 Ford Fusion hybrid, stolen December 28th, while he was off-duty.

Police gave this account:   Lt. Paul was on North Street waiting to turn onto Rte. 3 around 6:15 in the evening; a minivan was in front of him and wouldn’t move; when Paul got out to check on the driver, someone drove off in the Paul’s car knocking Paul to ground.

CrimeStoppers offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of the weapons and the arrest of the car thief. Granite City Police alerted the media. The car was found the next day at an apartment complex near I-70 and Lucas and Hunt in North St. Louis County.

Then came the twist. While releasing no details as to why, Granite City Police confirmed they turned the case over to the Madison County Sheriff’s Department for further investigation.

The sheriff’s department now confirms there was a woman in the car with Lt. Paul when he got out to check on the van. Investigators have identified her and recovered 5 of the 6 missing weapons.

Lt. Paul suddenly retired in the middle of the investigation.

The sheriff's department confirms its investigation is now complete. The findings will go to a special prosecutor to be appointed by the Madison County court. Both the Granite City Police and Madison County Sheriff's investigators declined interviews.

FOX 2 could not reach Lt. Paul for comment.

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