AURORA, Colo. - Three guns and a bullet-resistant vest were stolen from two unmarked Adams County Sheriff's Office vehicles.
The cars were broken into between 9 p.m. Wednesday and 6 a.m. Thursday, according to sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Terrance O’Neill. Both vehicles were parked at separate locations in southeast Aurora, but O'Neill declined to provide specific addresses citing protection of the investigation.
The stolen items were:
- Colt M-4/Commando (.223 Caliber)
- Colt AR-15 (.223 Caliber)
- Glock 22C (.40 Caliber)
- Level IIA Bullet-resistant vest
"It looks like all of the deputies' ammunition was accounted for," O'Neill said.
-- Law enforcement gun thefts a problem --
"We're finding this all over the country, that they’re trying to get the heavy weapons," said Bob Pence, former FBI director for the Rocky Mountain Region. "Taking heavy weapons and body armor is a huge concern for law enforcement."
Pence said the bad guys have figured out where to get the big guns -- cops' homes and cars.
So what are local law enforcement agencies doing to make sure their weapons aren’t stolen by the people they’re trying to protect us from?
7NEWS Reporter Jaclyn Allen found out policies vary widely from agency to agency and often the officers are given discretion about how they store their weapons.
Lakewood police have a strict policy of no weapons left in cars overnight, period, said spokesman Steve Davis. If they are left in a car while the officer is on duty, they must be in an electronic lock.
Boulder and Westminster police only allow shotguns locked in a rack to be left in unattended cars.
In Douglas County, if the deputy’s car has a gun lock, the weapons can be left inside.
Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office allows deputies to store weapons in a locked vehicle, but only if it’s in a locked garage.
Denver police can leave firearms in a police car if there is a locked rack or they are "out of sight and secured."
Adams County, where two deputies had their weapons stolen from their cars overnight, has not released its policy.
"I think it would be wise to revisit policies if this is a pattern, and then the officers need to adhere to those policies," said Pence.
-- Adams County has provided us their policy, and it leaves much discretion to the deputies:
211.15 SAFE STORAGE AND PRESENTATION OF FIREARMS. Deputies shall not unnecessarily display any weapon to any person. Deputies shall ensure their weapons are safely handled and accessible when the weapon may be in an unusual location. Each deputy is responsible for the safe storage of weapons and ammunition at their residences.