A 44-year-old Stamford man was arrested Wednesday evening after he allegedly sold an illegal rifle—one of half dozen he was allegedly involved in trying to move—to police conducting an impromptu undercover operation, police announced Thursday.
Lt. Chris Shaw of the Stamford Police Department Patrol Division received a tip from an informant that an area man was looking to move some firearms very quickly, according to police, and authorities got to work to quickly set up a buy.
The suspect, identified by police as Michael Lotz, of Morgan St., was placed under surveillance prior to the buy, police said. According to authorities, Lotz was tailed pushing a carriage down the street that allegedly appeared to have a rifle in it. Two men were also in tow with Lotz at the time.
Police said Lotz was witnessed meeting with a third man around the back of a building. When Lotz left the area, he allegedly no longer had the weapon in his possession.
Authorities spoke with the man whom Lotz allegedly left the weapon and he cooperated with officers, authorities said. He turned over a total of three rifles to police at that point, they said. He allegedly told police the additional two rifles were given to him earlier.
Lotz then met with the undercover police officer and allegedly sold the officer a rifle for $200. The officer left with the rifle and authorities moved in to arrest Lotz. Lotz was still in the presence of the two additional men at the time of his arrest, one of whom was identified by police as a 16-year-old youth.
During subsequent interviews with the three men, the locations of two additional rifles were revealed to police. In total police, police recovered six weapons. Four rifles, a shotgun and an assault weapon.
"They would have a huge impact on the city if they got out to the wrong hands," said Lt. Timothy Shaw.
Lotz is charged with four counts criminal possession of a firearm, possession of an assault weapon, sale of an assault weapon and two counts risk of injury to a child. He has prior felonies on his record. He is currently being held on $150,000. His court date is set for September 11, 2012.
The operation was a joint effort between Stamford Police, Darien Police and the ATF. Darien assisted in the operation as there was some information that some weapons might be stored in the city.