Surveillance camera captured out-of-order thief's pilferage

Earlier this week, Magistrate Daniel Cook, who handles small claims cases in Lorain, Ohio, was on the bench when he reached for his gavel and discovered it was missing. After checking "every possible place it could be," police reported, Cook concluded that someone had actually stolen his gavel.

Court personnel then reviewed surveillance video from days earlier and spotted an unknown male stealing the wooden gavel. The alleged thief, staffers realized, was accompanied by a second man who "was in court on that day trying to get his license back," according to a Lorain Police Department report.

In short order, cops identified the suspect as Christopher Collins, and prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for the 47-year old. Collins, pictured in the mug shot at right, was then arrested at his residence, where he was questioned about the "whereabouts of the gavel."

Collins, police noted, "admitted to stealing the gavel, but stated he did not have it at the house." He claimed to have received a ride home from the courthouse from "a male he barely knows," and left the gavel in the man's vehicle.

Collins yesterday was booked into the Lorain County jail on a petty theft charge. The police report offers no insight as to why he allegedly sought to commit a crime inside Municipal Court.