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NYPD Cop Assigned to Guard Guns Arrested for Stealing, Selling Them

By  Murray Weiss and Alan Neuhauser | July 13, 2012 11:04am | Updated on July 13, 2012 12:01pm

Nicholas Mina, 31, is the fourth NYPD police officer arrested in five days.
Nicholas Mina, 31, is the fourth NYPD police officer arrested in five days.
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Spencer Platt/Getty Images

NEW YORK — An NYPD gun-trafficking cop has been arrested for stealing handguns and bulletproof vests from his colleagues' lockers then selling them on the street, according to police and news reports.

Police Officer Nicholas Mina, 31, was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, criminal sale of a firearm, criminal possession of a controlled substance, conspiracy and grand larceny, the NYPD said.

Mina, who has been on the job for six years, was taken into custody Friday within the confines of the 5th Precinct, which polices Chinatown, Little Italy and NoLita. Cops declined to say where exactly he was arrested.

Cops who know Mina said they were blindsided by the charges.

"He was an excellent young cop," a source said.

They added that Mina — known for carrying a cup for his tobacco chew — mostly kept to himself.

"He's a nice kid," the source added. "Very low key."

Mina worked overnight as part of a 24-hour security detail assigned to guard the seventh-floor locker room of the 9th Precinct when the thefts began in February, sources said. Authorities believe he smuggled an officer's gun out of the locker room on April 22.

Mina also allegedly stole bulletproof vests, bullets and an iPad, sources said.

He allegedly sold the weapons — 9-mm handguns — to buyers who did not know he was a cop, police sources said.

After getting wind of the scheme, the NYPD's internal affairs bureau and the Manhattan District Attorney's office launched an investigation. The lengthy probe included authorities setting up surveillance cameras, monitored by a sergeant, set up around the locker room, sources said.

Police arrested three other people, the New York Post reported: Ivan Chavez, 24, Meryl Lebowitz, 64, and Jennifer Sultan, 38. They were charged with crimes that included criminal sale of a firearm, but it was unclear how exactly they were involved in the alleged incidents.

Mina was the fourth NYPD cop arrested in five days.

Police Officer Salisha Alirasul, 34, was charged with driving while intoxicated and refusing to take a breath test after she slammed into a parked car in Queens early Wednesday morning. Cop Kofi Nsafoah, 36, was arrested in Brooklyn Tuesday for allegedly choking his wife during a dispute.

And on Sunday, Police Officer Brayan Terrazas, 26, was arrested in Queens for allegedly driving while intoxicated.

Alirasul, Nsafoah and Terrazas were off-duty when they were arrested.