Metro-East News

Guns stolen from locked police car, police say

A marked St. Louis County Police vehicle had two department-issued firearms stolen from it Friday while it was parked at an officer’s residence, according to the agency.

The theft happened between midnight and 6:30 a.m. and police did not specify what kind of firearms were taken or how they were secured within the locked vehicle.

“It is clear that these criminals are specifically targeting law enforcement vehicles,” wrote Benjamin Granda, media relations officer, in a department news release.

St. Clair County Sheriff’s Deputies do not bring their marked cars home, said Capt. Bruce Fleshren said.

“It’s not going to be a problem for us,” Fleshren said.

Granda of St. Louis County said other arrangements will be made to secure police weapons while the department contacts the manufacturer of the device and reassess the system.

St. Louis County Police said the system to secure firearms “is a commonly used one.”

While it was not immediately clear whether this has happened in St. Louis County before, Illinois State Police spokesman Joey Watson could not recall a time when a District 13 officer had firearms stolen from a marked vehicle.

Generally speaking, Illinois State Police in District 13 bring their firearms inside at night.

“We bring that stuff in; unless it’s a long gun then we secure it in the trunk,” he said. “The security of a weapon is always paramount.”

District 13 covers the counties of Jackson, Randolph, Perry Washing, Jefferson, Franklin and Williamson.

Other Southern Illinois agencies did not immediately return calls for comment.