Wilmington Officer Involved In Neighborhood Lockdown Charged With Felony Theft

Wilmington Police have charged M/Cpl. Michael Ballard, a 14-year veteran of the Wilmington Police Department, with seventeen counts relating to an alleged theft from a Wilmington Police Department’s shooting range account, according to a statement released by the Department. Ballard is the same officer that was involved in an incident that caused the closure of the Conrad School Of Science earlier this month.

The Wilmington Police Department announced today, that after a three-month internal investigation, arrest warrants have been signed for M/Cpl. Michael Ballard, a 14-year veteran of the Wilmington Police Department for felony and misdemeanor theft. Ballard, who was assigned to the Wilmington Police Department Firearms Range, remains on suspended without pay status, according to the statement.

“It is with great sadness and disappointment that we announce the arrest of M/Cpl. Michael Ballard,” said Wilmington Police Chief Robert J. Tracy. “Regardless of the personal struggles that police officers face on a daily basis, we must never break the trust of the public we serve. Our badge is a symbol of that public trust. This was initiated as an internal investigation by officers of the Wilmington Police Department, who have a true understanding of the importance of upholding our department’s integrity. This administration is committed to excellence in not only public safety, but in conducting ourselves with honor and integrity in serving the community each and every day.”

Michael Ballard

Officials said in September of 2018, Wilmington Police began an internal criminal investigation after officers reported possible misconduct by M/Cpl. Ballard. Through this investigation, police focused their attention on a Department account established for managing funds generated from recycled brass shell casings collected from the Wilmington Police Department’s shooting range. It was determined that this account was active, but had been dormant since July of 2015, according to the Department. Further investigation revealed that Ballard had allegedly embezzled proceeds from that account totaling $21,994.90 between October of 2015 to June of 2018, officials said.

At the conclusion of the criminal investigation, Wilmington Police notified the Delaware Department of Justice, Attorney General’s Office of Civil Rights and Public Trust. Upon review of the facts of the case, Wilmington Police charged Ballard with three (3) counts of Felony Theft Greater than $1,500 and fourteen (14) counts of Misdemeanor Theft under $1,500.

Ballard is pending arraignment and bail conditions are forthcoming, police said.

Neighborhood Lockdown

On Thursday, Nov 15, at approximately 10:30 p.m., officers from the New Castle County Division of Police were dispatched to the 500 block of Essex Ave in the community of Bellemoor for a check on the welfare.

Upon arrival, officers learned that 48-year-old Michael Ballard made statements that caused concern for his welfare and he further refused to answer his door, according to police. Officers made contact with Ballard and confirmed that he was in the residence and may be in possession of a firearm.

The perimeter shut down multiple intersections along Boxwood Ave and closed the Conrad School of Sciences. A Reverse 911 message was sent out to neighboring residences advising occupants to remain inside their homes.

Shortly after 9:00 am on Nov 16, Ballard surrendered peacefully to the officers and was taken to a local hospital for an evaluation.

During the examination of Ballard’s residence, evidence was discovered that a firearm had been discharged in the direction of neighboring houses, according to police.

Ballard has been charged with 2 counts of felony Reckless Endangering 1st, 2 counts of felony Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony and 2 counts of felony Possession of a Firearm by a Person Prohibited.

The incident, which began at around 10:30  on Essex Drive in Bellmoor, ended about eleven hours later when a man walked out of a home and surrendered to SWAT officers.

Several neighbors reported that Delaware State Police SWAT Officers were in their homes during the incident keeping watch over the home in question.

After the lockdown was over an officer was with a metal detector was in the front yard of the home investigating what appear to be bullet holes on the side of the home.

Neighbors reported that a similar incident occurred back in August at this same home.

 

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