SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A warning for law enforcement officers after thieves broke into two patrol cars stealing a number of weapons. The break-ins happened roughly within 24 hours of each other, at the officers’ homes in Rancho Cordova.
“To go into an officer’s home, or their property is an extremely bold move by any suspect,” said Sgt Tony Turnbull with the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department.
An internal memo from the sheriff’s department, leaked to CBS13 by a viewer, revealed that in July an Amador County Sheriff’s lieutenant reported that his take-home vehicle was burglarized by unknown suspects.
“They went through the hood of the car, cut the cables for the battery, which cut the power off to the car, which circumvents the alarm system. Once inside the car they pried off the locking mechanism to get access to the weapon,” said Turnbull.
The lieutenant’s car was an unmarked vehicle, locked up, and parked on the street in front of the Rancho Cordova home.
After dismantling the alarm, the suspects managed to get away with a Colt M4 rifle, a less lethal Remington 870 shotgun painted orange, a ballistic vest, ammunition and a number of personal items including laptops and iPads.
“It’s clearly someone who knew what they were doing, and familiar with that kind of vehicle. Our biggest concern is that the firearms get involved in a crime, we hope that doesn’t happen,” said Amador County Undersheriff James Wegner.
A day later on July 18, and less than half-a-mile away, a West Sacramento Police officer’s patrol car that was locked up inside a locked garage was broken into. The suspects made their way into the officer’s home looking for the keys.
“Obviously they were watching out, or knew when he was leaving, it appears they had intimate knowledge of what was in the house, and where to find the keys,” said Turnbull.
Both officers had their firearms locked up in a locking mechanism that’s almost impossible to break into. In one instance, the suspects had the keys but in the other, they literally unbolted and removed the entire gun rack mounted between the seats.
“There’s no indication that these burglaries are connected to the same group,” said Turnbull.
The Sacramento Sheriff’s Department is stressing that the internal memo was not intended to hide anything but rather serves as a warning for other officers.
“That’s what the internal memo was all about, it’s advising officers that there could be a group out there doing these things and they’re starting to target officers again,” said Turnbull.
Both West Sacramento Police and Amador County Sheriff’s Department say their officers had their vehicles secured per “at home patrol car policies.”
Investigators say in the case of West Sacramento police, four juveniles were taken into custody and all the weapons and ammunition were recovered, but the suspects and weapons involved with the Amador County Sheriff’s lieutenant’s vehicle remain outstanding.
If anyone has any information, please contact the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department.