Guns off the street? Fleet of cop cars robbed of weapons in Kansas City
Authorities in Kansas City are searching for answers after four police cruisers and two Jackson County Sheriff’s Office cars were broken into early Monday.
Law enforcement officials have refused to identify what possessions in particular were removed from the automobiles, aside from categorizing them vaguely as weapons.
Local network KCTV reports that they were unable to get a clear answer as to whether or not county policy even allows deputies to keep weapons in parked cars, but Kansas City Major Anthony Ell suspects radios, uniforms, bullet-proof vests, weapons and "anything that they somehow think they can use” were removed by the thieves.
"If you're willing to take the risk and break into a police car, that's a pretty brazen thief,” Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp tells KMBC News.
The incident occurred early Monday morning when an unknown person or person smashed the windows of vehicles parked in an area of the city’s south side where a number of officers and deputies — and Mayor Ell himself — all reside. A seventh car, owned by a civilian, was also burglarized.
They mayor imagines it could be quite hard for someone without the right know-how to use a police computer or radio, but that of course wouldn’t preclude them from pawning any items of value, selling them on the street or, in the case of a firearm, pull a trigger. Such wouldn’t exactly be out of the ordinary in Kansas City, either, a town considered the “ninth most dangerous city in America” by US News & World Report in 2011. At the time, Kansas City had three times the national average in terms of crime, and things haven’t gotten particularly better in the span since. The Kansas City Star notes that 156 people were victims of homicide in the greater KC-area during 2012, and two have been killed already in the new year.
Of the 108 homicides within the city limits in 2012, 90 involved the use of either a handgun or rifle. Using official crime statistics, the website NeighborhoodScout.com considers Kansas City, Missouri to be safer than only 4 percent of all US towns.
According to KMBC News, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office has around 100 vehicles that can be taken home nightly by deputies, with the Kansas City Police Department having around another 700 cruisers that can be brought home by officers and detectives who are on-call around the clock. Sheriff Mike Sharp suggests to KMBC that he isn’t a big fan of the program, though, since the cars can at times contain very valuable items.
"There is a lot of equipment in any police vehicle. We'd like, ideally, to park them in garages,” he says.
Sheriff Sharp adds that his agency is now tasked with conducting inventory in order to take account what exactly could have been compromised. He says that he hopes to review the department’s policies after the latest rash of break-ins, since Monday morning’s activities marked the second time cop cruisers were targeted this week.
Local network KSHB News reports that police sources say the department will file felony charges against the suspect.