Authorities are searching for a gun stolen last week from the back seat of an off-duty San Francisco sheriff deputy’s SUV while he parked at a fitness center in Pinole. NBC Bay Area has obtained a copy of surveillance video that caught the crime on camera.
The theft is the latest in a string of high profile cases involving guns taken from vehicles driven by Bay Area officers, some later tied to homicides.
The latest break-in occurred at 7:40 a.m. on June 14, according to Lt. Matt Avery of the Pinole police department.
The surveillance video shows a man driving up in a gold Mercedes Benz without license plates and parking next to the victim’s SUV on the side of the fitness center in the 1400 block of Fitzgerald Drive.
The driver gets out and appears to do a warm up stretch next to the SUV. That’s when he reaches behind and takes a bag from the SUV that’s apparently visible in the back seat. It’s not clear how he broke into the car.
Richmond police assisted Pinole investigators in the case that day, and with images from the video identified a suspect, Angelo King Jr., 21, of Richmond, Lt. Avery said Wednesday. Contra Costa County deputies arrested King later that day. He’s charged with auto burglary, theft of the gun and misdemeanor possession of burglary tools.
The gun was the deputy’s private weapon which he also used on duty. It was stolen along with three magazines of ammunition, authorities said.
Nancy Crowley, spokeswoman for San Francisco Sheriff Vicki Hennessy, told NBC Bay Area that the deputy immediately reported the incident to the sheriff’s department and Pinole police.
“Sheriff Hennessy takes this incident very seriously and has begun an investigation,” she said.
Crowley would not say whether the deputy – identified in court documents as Jose Manuel Gonzalez -- has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of that investigation, as has been done in other cases.
A city ordinance established in 2016 mandates that its law enforcement officers keep guns locked in a metal or composite storage box that is attached, out of view, to the interior of the vehicle. The state later passed a similar law.
But last September, authorities say, an off-duty San Francisco sheriff’s deputy had a gun taken from the trunk of his rental car in San Francisco. Just a month before that, a gun was stolen from a San Francisco police officer’s vehicle. It was later tied to a string of crimes, including the Aug. 15, 2017 robbery and slaying of 23-year-old Abel Enrique Esquivel Jr. in the Mission District. Three defendants were charged in that shooting.
In another homicide case, a gun stolen from a U.S. Bureau of Land Management agent’s vehicle was used in the slaying of 32-year-old Kate Steinle in July 2015 in San Francisco. The man charged in that case, Jose Ines Garcia-Zarate, claimed he found the weapon under a park bench. He was ultimately found not guilty in the shooting.