Federal, state agencies investigating Selma Police Department for gun thefts

Alabama state and federal law enforcement agencies are working together on an investigation into current and former Selma Police Department employees for allegedly stealing hundreds of guns from the department’s evidence vault.

According to an announcement from Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, the attorney general’s office is working in tandem with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms on the investigation.

“The joint investigation will include an audit of the police department’s evidence room in the wake of recent reports of missing items from the department’s vault,” Marshall said. “I appreciate the assistance of Chief Collier who has provided complete access to department’s records as we conduct our joint investigation into possible corruption and missing evidence.”

Selma Police Chief Spencer Collier told The Selma Times-Journal that a former evidence technician, 34-year-old Adrianne Michelle Canterbury, allegedly stole more than 200 guns from the evidence vault at the department between the time she was hired in November 2016 until February 2017.

Canterbury’s husband, 43-year-old Richard Canterbury, allegedly acted as an armorer in the criminal operation, repairing the stolen guns so that they could be sold.

The operation was discovered after the police department received tips that led them to surveil Richard Canterbury, who was then brought in after a traffic stop and has cooperated with the investigation.

Search warrants were then executed on the Canterbury’s home and storage unit, which led to the discovery of the 200 firearms that had been stolen from evidence.

“What we found there was probably the largest stash of guns from a criminal perspective. It was a little overwhelming to see that amount,” Collier said. “There may be others that weren’t [taken from evidence] but we’re trying to work that. The bulk were taken out of the evidence room.”

Many of the stolen firearms were condemned and had been stored in the evidence vault for up to 17 years. One has been linked to an active case.

One of the guns Canterbury stole and traded ended up in the hands of 19-year-old Ratravious Sanders, who allegedly used the weapon in an April 14 homicide.

The department’s evidence vault has since been re-keyed and security cameras installed. Collier also said he plans to implement a policy in which condemned firearms will be destroyed in a more timely manner.

The Canterbury’s, as well as 32-year-old Candice Ledbetter Byrum, who allegedly posted the guns online for sale, are all facing charges related to the illegal gun mill operation. The investigation is still ongoing.