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Automatic Weapons Stolen From LAPD SWAT

Cliff Liu |
October 17, 2011 | 12:49 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

A stash of high-powered submachine guns and handguns used by Los Angeles Police Department’s SWAT unit went missing last week in an overnight heist.

The weapons were stored in a secured LAPD SWAT unit building. Although the weapons had been altered to fire only blanks, a senior police official said in remarks published today that the weapons could be converted back to lethal use.

(Photo by Eric Richardson via Creative Commons)
(Photo by Eric Richardson via Creative Commons)

The weapons, which included 21 MP-5 submachine guns and a dozen .45-caliber handguns, were stored in a locked box after being transported Wednesday night to a building at 14th and San Pedro Street downtown according to LAPD Deputy Chief Michael Downing.  

Eyebrows were raised about the theft because it involved the SWAT unit, one of the most prestigious divisions in the department producing arguably the brightest enforcement component of LAPD whose members are trained to think systematically aiming to always be a couple steps ahead of the enemy.

Specializing in hostage rescues and other high-risk operations, members of the SWAT unit were scheduled to train at the facility Thursday, Downing told the Los Angeles Times. Shortly after arriving at the building around 9 a.m. Thursday, a police officer discovered the weapons were missing.  

The thieves cut through locks on three doors and found their way through a metal roll gate. Downing told The Times the building, which was thought to be secure, was not a guarded LAPD facility.

“I guess ‘secure’ is all relative now,” Downing told the Times. “It’s embarrassing… It’s a lesson learned.”

No suspects were named. However investigators did find electrical equipment near a back door, indicating the thieves may have fled when the officer arrived, the Times reported.

Read more from the L.A. Times.

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