3 On Your Side
3 On Your Side

Man says Mesa police holding his gun 'hostage'

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Nicholas Bamper is a gun enthusiast. It's something he learned while serving his country.

“I am very passionate about firearms and I was trained and qualified with over 9 different weapon systems,” Bamper said.

One of Bamper's favorite guns: “A Smith & Wesson .44 magnum. So anyone that knows about .44 magnums knows it's just really powerful, really elegant. It is basically like a Dirty Harry gun, it's just a shorter barrel.” 

Bamper would carry the gun with him on a regular basis, but someone stole the gun from his truck two years ago.

“Usually it would be right here and I noticed it wasn't so I knew right away something was wrong,” Bamper said.

Bamper immediately filed a report with Mesa Police and police recovered the gun about a week later. However, Bamper said Mesa Police told him they had to temporarily hold on to the gun before returning it to him.

”They took it to the evidence department, checked it in and it's still in the evidence department right now,” he said.

For some reason, he says Mesa Police Department has held on to his gun for two full years.

Bamper said he has constantly asked police what he needs to do to get his gun back but could never get a clear answer.
“They say that they have it in the evidence department, but they keep saying they have to wait for everything to process, and it's a long process and they don't really give me any results,” he said.

Fed up with waiting for two years, Bamper contacted 3 On Your Side.

“At this point, you wonder where your gun really even is, you know, if it is where they say it is,” he said.

3 On Your Side got a hold of Mesa Police and spoke with Detective. Steve Berry. 

“We certainly don't want to keep things that doesn’t belong to us, and that we don't need longer than necessary,” said Berry.

Det. Berry acknowledges in a situation like this, two years is too long to hang on to a gun as evidence once it's been cleared

Apparently, a glitch in their system along with a clerical error contributed to the delay.

“Because the case didn't go normal channels through a detective we simply missed it. Obviously, you brought it up to us and we were able to quickly get that resolved. Once we were aware it had been missed because of the way it had come back, we were able to get that resolved within just a couple of days,” said Berry.

Bamper finally got that gun he's been waiting to get back for two years and said he couldn’t be any happier. 

“This is all I wanted the whole time. It's good to know there's services and systems out there that work, especially 3 On Your Side.”

A big thank you to Mesa Police for resolving the issue as soon we brought it to their attention. We're told
that gun is valued at around $1,000.

Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

Click to learn more about Gary.

Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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