Although police officers are prohibited from leaving guns in their cars,
it happens. Apparently it happens often enough that now, breaking into
a police car and stealing guns has become a trend. A pattern of thefts
has taken place in Central Florida involving loaded guns being stolen
from police cars. The most recent theft took place in Winter Park, and
the weapons stolen included a .223-caliber AR-15 assault rifle with a
loaded, 30-round magazine and a .40-caliber Glock pistol with three loaded,
16-round magazines. In similar break-ins, multiple other guns, including
a loaded machine gun, have been stolen.
Police vehicles are not the only vehicles being targeted. Since 2012, two
police officers have been murdered using guns stolen from unlocked cars.
Sherriff Jerry Demings said, “Last year in Orange County there were
199 guns that were stolen from vehicles. Even more disturbing is the fact
that 83 percent of those guns were stolen from unlocked vehicles. That’s
simply unacceptable.” The 199 gun figure likely does not include
guns stolen from police vehicles, as the public is generally not alerted
when these thefts occur.
Last year, police officials urged the public not to leave guns in their
vehicles. But now, after a series of break-ins involving police cars,
it seems the police force needs to follow their own advice. Even worse,
in some of the situations involving police cars, there was no evidence
of a physical break-in, leading to the assumption that the police vehicle
had been unlocked at the time of the theft.
Officers who are found to have violated the no guns left in vehicle policy
face disciplinary action, including docked pay. Of all the police guns
that have been stolen, none have recovered.
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