By Julie Watts

OAKLAND (KPIX) – Authorities are investigating another car break-in involving a law enforcement vehicle that happened in Oakland. This time the victim an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms.

Officials confirmed they are searching for stolen law enforcement equipment after someone broke into an ATF vehicle on Tuesday while it was parked outside the federal courthouse on Clay Street in Oakland.

While the ATF confirmed it is working with Oakland police to find the stolen gear, the agency won’t confirm exactly what was stolen or how it was stolen, citing concerns about compromising the investigation.

There are unconfirmed reports that the “property” includes firearms and body armor. ATF would not confirm if weapons were stolen and would only say it was “law enforcement issued equipment.”

The ATF also did not say if they had any suspects in the theft.

Ginger Colbrun of the ATF said, “We are aggressively pursuing all leads and working closely with our local partners to quickly identify the individuals responsible and return the property.”

KPIX security analyst and former FBI Special Agent Jeff Harp explained the ATF is now part of the Department of Justice, which has specific rules about storing weapons in vehicles.

“You have to have an approved container, approved by the agency, issued by the agency,” said Harp. “It is bolted to the frame of the car. If its in a car trunk, it also has a locking mechanism on there besides the standard key lock.”

A 2017 audit of ATF weapons found 26 lost, missing or stolen firearms over the course of three years. One of those firearms was later used in a crime.

11 were stolen from vehicles. In each of those cases, the agent was suspended for about a week.

However, another 10 weapons were lost by agents, left in various locations, including restaurants, on the metro and on the top of a car. Less than half of those agents were disciplined.

The audit also found record-keeping problems and potentially missing ammunition and explosives.

But ATF is not the only federal agency with such issues.

A similar audit of the Department of Homeland Security found more than 200 lost firearms over two years.

The most notable case in the Bay Area involved a gun stolen from a federal ranger’s car that was later used in the fatal shooting of Kate Steinle on Pier 14.

Comments
  1. Chuck Lantz says:

    It appears that the only people who don’t know that you never leave ANYTHING of value in a parked car are those who are supposed to be well-trained law enforcement officers. Any officer who has a weapon stolen from their vehicle should be fired, period. No “time off”, no “retraining”, … just kick them out the door. Anyone that stupid shouldn’t carry a gun in the first place.

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