SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — An off-duty California Highway Patrol officer had his firearm stolen out of his vehicle in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood on Sunday, a CHP spokesman said Monday.
It is the latest incident in a rash of auto burglaries around the San Francisco Bay area in which firearms issued or belonging to law enforcement officials have been stolen.
In Sunday’s incident, the officer had parked his personal vehicle near the intersection of Eighth and Howard streets. When he returned to the vehicle on Sunday night he discovered that the front passenger-side window was broken and that a bag containing his personal pistol was missing, CHP spokesman Vu Williams said.
The officer reported the auto burglary to San Francisco police and the Police Department is investigating the incident, Williams said.
Williams said the pistol was not in a secure lockbox when it was stolen. He said today that the gun had not been recovered.
In a separate incident, on July 1, 32-year-old San Francisco resident Kathryn Steinle was fatally shot near the San Francisco Ferry Building with a pistol that had been reported stolen from a U.S. Bureau of Land Management ranger.
The gun was stolen during an auto burglary while he was traveling on official business in San Francisco.
Attorney Frank Pitre, who has filed a wrongful death claim against the Bureau of Land Management on behalf of the Steinle family, said that the gun was left in the federal ranger’s vehicle against mandatory regulations for federal employees.
Another incident occurred in August, when a gun belonging to a Hayward police officer was stolen from a car in Oakland.
Oakland police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said that the firearm was stolen near a shopping plaza a few blocks from the Fruitvale BART station.
Hayward police spokesman Sgt. Ryan Cantrell said that the gun was a Hayward officer’s, but he declined to release the officer’s name.
Earlier in August, University of California police Chief Margo Bennett had her gun, badge, department-issued laptop and other items stolen from her car as she jogged at Point Isabel in Richmond.
The rash of stolen firearms, including the one used in Steinle’s death, spurred San Francisco Supervisor David Campos last month to introduce an ordinance requiring off-duty law enforcement officials to store their guns securely.
The San Francisco ordinance, if passed, would require that off-duty officers secure their guns in lockboxes or locked trunks when they are left in parked cars.
Campos said a policy requiring local officers to lock up guns in cars while they are on duty is already in place, but does not exist for off-duty officers.
“Preventing gun violence is a moral imperative for our city and our nation, and reducing the theft of dangerous weapons will help prevent future devastating tragedies,” Campos said last month.
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