Twice in a week, guns were stolen from local law enforcement. First from an officer in Cape Coral and now an undercover deputy in Lee County. An expert in police procedure fears it will not be the last time we hear of this type of crime.
“As you and I are having this conversation, somebody has done that,” said Dr. Dave Thomas, professor of Criminal Justice at Florida Gulf Coast University, “and they’ve absolutely forgotten their firearm for whatever reason.”
Sometime between Sunday night and Monday morning, someone got away with a handgun left inside an unmarked Lee County Sheriff’s Office deputy vehicle.
“People in your neighborhood – in your community, they know you are a police officer – marked or unmarked car,” Thomas said. “Often times, you may become the target of that.”
Internal affairs is investigating the Cape Coral officer whose’s glock was stolen. The sheriff’s office said there is no internal affairs investigation at this moment.
The sheriff’s office caught a lot of heat back in 2017 when several weapons, including an AR-15, were taken from a SWAT deputy’s car parked in his driveway.
Sheriff Carmine Marceno explained he felt the deputy had properly secured his vehicle before the guns were taken.
“Unfortunately in today’s day and age, criminals are just much more sophisticated, they’re advanced,” Marceno said in 2017. “They’re able to research through google through websites and learn how to break into locked vehicles.”
Three teenagers were arrested for the burglary and all the weapons were recovered. The crime prompted the sheriff’s office to strengthen its policy about rifles.
Now, deputies are required to secure the weapons within their residence when off-duty and the vehicle is not being used, regardless of the type of car or internal security measures.
But the sheriff’s office policy does not address handguns and where those should be stored.
“This is a mistake they make,” Dr. Dave Thomas said. “They get comfortable that no one will target them because they are the police. In reality, that thought process should be much different because they are the police; they will become the target.”