A former public safety dispatcher and animal control officer in Bucksport is facing a felony theft charge after he allegedly stole three rifles that had been turned over to the town’s police department years ago for safekeeping.

The former dispatcher, Daniel A. Joy, 55, is accused of taking the rifles in July 2013 and of later selling two of them, according to Hancock County District Attorney Matthew Foster. Foster said the person who turned them over to the department, saying they didn’t want the weapons in their home, recently asked to have them back.

Joy had given the person a receipt in exchange for turning in the guns, Foster said. When that person showed up with that receipt seven years later, another police department employee couldn’t find the guns in storage or any paperwork showing what had happened to them.

Joy was charged last month with one count of Class B theft because the items allegedly stolen are firearms, Foster said. The estimated total value of the rifles, which is between $225 and $450, is “irrelevant” to the Class B charge, he said.

A conviction on a Class B crime in Maine is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Joy worked for the town in one capacity or another for many years since at least the 1990s, and at one point worked for the police department as a patrolman, according to Deputy Police Chief David Winchester. Joy worked his last day for the town on Oct. 26, Winchester said. The Ellsworth American reported that Joy had been Bucksport’s part-time animal control officer for about 30 years.

Winchester declined to comment on the case and instead directed all questions about the alleged theft to Foster.

Foster did not have detailed information about the firearms but said he believes they all are .22 caliber weapons and, aside from that, are “nothing particularly special.” He said they were turned over to the police department by someone who “didn’t want them in their home.”

One of the rifles has since been recovered, but Joy allegedly later sold the other two, Foster said.

The district attorney said that he plans to review the case further and might file additional charges or amend the felony theft charge before it is presented to a grand jury. Joy is scheduled to appear in court on the charge in January, according to documents filed in Hancock County Unified Criminal Court in Ellsworth.

The Bucksport Police Department indicated last week on its Facebook page that it is looking to hire a new full-time dispatcher, and announced earlier this week that it has hired a new animal control officer.

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Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....