San Francisco

San Francisco Sheriff's Deputy No Longer With Department After Unsecured Service Handgun Stolen From Car

A San Francisco sheriff's deputy whose unsecured service revolver was stolen in a car burglary no longer works for the department, officials said.

The still unidentified deputy had held his position for less than a year and was still on probation when his gun was stolen from a rental car parked in the Potrero Hill neighborhood on Sunday, the SF Gate reported.

The deputy, who was off-duty at the time of the crime, had stored his department-issued 9mm Glock 17 in the vehicle's trunk.

Sheriff Vicki Hennessy said the deputy reported the theft to the San Francisco Police Department around 6:30 p.m.

"Preliminary information indicates the firearm was stored in violation of our policy," Hennessy said. "Our department policy mandates that a firearm stored in a vehicle be stored in a metal or composite lockbox that is affixed to the interior of the vehicle and out of public view."

The weapon has not been recovered. The department has opened an investigation into the theft and Hennessey said she is taking the matter "extremely seriously" and reminding staff about it once again. 

Guns stolen from law enforcement have been used in several fatal shootings in recent years.

San Francisco police reported last week that a gun stolen from an officer's personal vehicle on Aug. 12 was used in an alleged crime spree over the next several days, including the fatal shooting of 23-year-old Abel Enrique Esquivel Jr., on Aug. 15 in the city's Mission District.

Three people have been arrested in connection with that shooting, which allegedly occurred during a robbery.

A gun stolen from a U.S. Bureau of Land Management agent was also used in the fatal shooting of 32-year-old Kate Steinle in July 2015 in San Francisco. Jose Ines Garcia-Zarate, 54, is expected to stand trial on a murder charge in that case later this fall.

And in Oakland, 27-year-old Antonio Ramos was shot and killed on Sept. 29, 2015, with a gun that had been stolen from an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent's car weeks earlier. Police arrested 20-year-old Marquise Holloway in connection with the shooting on Nov. 20.

In response to those and other incidents, a state law was signed last year requiring that law enforcement officers store guns in a locked trunk or safe box if they are kept in a vehicle. Civilians were already required to store their weapons securely but law enforcement had previously been exempt.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors also passed an ordinance in February 2016 requiring all weapons left in vehicles to be secured in a locked trunk or lock box, for both civilians and law enforcement.

Former San Francisco Supervisor Dave Campos said he could not believe the news of yet another car break-in involving a law enforcement officer. 

"You would think that a police officer, a deputy sheriff, anyone who’s involved in law enforcement would actually try to set the example for the rest of the public, and it’s actually the opposite," he said. 

Campos authored legislation for private citizens to secure their weapons in cars. He said he was assured that law enforcement agencies had their own, air-tight standards.

"What’s happening in the last two cases here in San Francisco is that you have members of the law enforcement community — the police department and now the sheriff — that are clearly violating the letter and the spirit of what we’re trying to do," he said.

However, Tony Ribera, who teaches the law enforcement leadership program at the University of San Francisco, believes Hennessy "is to be commended for having a comprehensive (weapons storage) policy in place."

The former San Francisco police chief said officers and deputies need to be more vigilant in following the rules, but also feels the city isn't doing its due diligence to a problem that lies at the core of such crimes. 

Nearly 18,000 cars have been burglarized across the city through the end of July. That's a 28 percent jump from the same time frame in 2016, officials said.

“I think we have a big problem with vehicle break-ins," Ribera said, and the thefts of service weapons is "symptomatic of that problem, and it’s something that we’re all aware of.”

Copyright BAYCN - Bay City News
Contact Us