SALEM — A Salem man who reported that a handgun and holster were stolen from his unlocked SUV in May insisted to a judge yesterday that the gun was actually in his home.

Before Shaun Mitchell, 33, of 7 Circle Hill Road, could explain the discrepancy between a police report and his statement yesterday, however, a Salem District Court judge cut him off, warning him to speak to an attorney.

Mitchell was in court yesterday in response to a summons, to answer to charges of improper storage of a firearm and leaving a firearm in a motor vehicle.

Those charges were filed by Salem police shortly after Mitchell reported on May 29 that sometime in the early morning hours of May 27, someone had entered his unlocked Chevy Tahoe, parked in his driveway, and stolen an unloaded .38 caliber Smith and Wesson handgun and holster from the unlocked center console, along with $51 in cash from a wallet, according to the police report. The wallet and the rest of its contents were left in the SUV, he told police.

When his case was called by a clerk, Mitchell told Judge Michael Lauranzano, “I’d like to resolve the matter today. The gun was not stolen. My car was broken into. The gun was in my home.” Lauranzano cut him off before he could say any more, advising him that he should speak with an attorney before making statements.

Mitchell then pleaded not guilty and was appointed an attorney, who scheduled a pretrial hearing for Oct. 2.

Mitchell had been issued a license to carry a handgun, according to the police report.

That license had been issued in Lynn, and Salem police notified their counterparts there after filing the charges, Lt. Conrad Prosniewski, the department’s spokesman, said.

Lynn police Lt. Rick Donnelly said he could not comment on the current status of Mitchell’s license, citing the state’s public records law.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.

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