Two more police officers have had their guns stolen out of their car, and the rest of us are left to wonder if this just happens every week now.
The police officers from Kern county were off-duty after having driven in to assist the Berkeley Police Department in securing the UC Berkeley campus during that miserable failure of a "Free Speech" rally. CBS says that after the event, the officers stopped for lunch near the Oakland Airport, and after eating, found that the window to their car was shattered. Along with the one firearm, another officer reported that their backpack was also taken from the car as well.
Officer Johanna Watson, spokesperson for the Oakland police department, also shared a statement with CBS about what the OPD is doing to find the stolen firearm. She said, "The Oakland Police Department understands the seriousness of the items that were taken in this auto burglary. Our patrol officers and investigators are working diligently to identify who is responsible for this crime, effecting an arrest and recovering the stolen property." Straightforward enough.
The Chronicle spoke with Sergeant Robert Gomes of the Taft police department where the off-duty officers work. Gomes clarified the policy regarding firearm storage, noting that their policy was to only make sure that rifles and shotguns were secured, and that handguns (like the ones stolen on Monday) aren't subject to such requirements.
As we've shared before with other similar stories, up here in San Francisco, officers are required by law to store their guns in unmarked, secure lockboxes that are attached to the car itself and placed out of view. Most recently, a former San Francisco Sheriff's department deputy was fired after their handgun was taken out of a rental car parked in Potrero Hill. That deputy was still new and thus under probation, and even then, "losing a gun" seems like a solid reason to be let go from your job.
What's especially worrying about these theft is that those weapons have turned back up in a few murders that have struck the Bay as of late. Kate Steinle is one of the victims to have been killed with an officer's stolen gun, and her trial has attracted national attention as the man being tried for the murder, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, was apparently wanted by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement department. Her murder is being used by many right-wingers and Republicans as a scary story, a parable of "what could go wrong" in a sanctuary city like San Francisco. But Steinle's parents actually filed a lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management, as it was an officer belonging to their department who lost the gun used in her murder.
That theft, along with this current one, contribute to this alarming trend of Bay Area officers losing their weapons. At this point, it's getting to be more than a little bit ridiculous.