Thursday, January 3, 2008

Guns here and there

A few weeks ago, I reported about guns surfacing in the Phoenix area that were stolen in a major 2007 burglary at Scheel's All Sports in Lincoln. Yesterday, a fifth stolen gun has been recovered in Phoenix. This one was seized during the execution of a search warrant relating to stolen vehicles and narcotics. The Scheel's guns will probably continue to surface for many years in similar circumstances.

Stolen guns (we have around 200 per year) don't always travel across the country, though. In the past week, we had three incidents in Lincoln involving stolen guns.

The first was on December 26 in southeast Lincoln. A 19 year old suspect committed a domestic assault by threatening two women with a Ruger 9mm pistol that had been taken in a south Lincoln apartment burglary back in January of 2007.

The second was on New Year's Eve in south Lincoln, when a 19 year old suspect playing around with a .380 Walther PPK shot his 12 year old brother. It was an accidental discharge, and fortunately the wound was not fatal. The Walther had been stolen in a southeast Lincoln apartment burglary in April, 2006.

The third was on New Year's Day in south Lincoln, when officers responded to a report of gunshots. They found a exit hole through an apartment door, and although the residents denied any knowledge of what happened, a search recovered a spent casing and a Daewoo 9mm pistol concealed under a mattress. The pistol had been stolen in Omaha, but we don't have all the details yet.

That's quite a few stolen gun incidents in a six day stretch, and highlights the importance of gun owners securing their premises and weapons. We had a spate this year of guns stolen from automobiles (a really poor place to store your firearm), and in several residential burglaries where guns were stolen, the premises were either left unlocked or lightly secured. A little more attention to good security would prevent some (though certainly not all) of our stolen gun cases.


Anonymous said...

Doesn't Daewoo also make cars and TVs?

JoeMerchant24 said...

Daewoo makes everything. No joke, the Asian-based company makes rifles, TVs, cars, PCs, appliances... And a long list of other goods.

Anonymous said...

I remember a Federal Agent had his SIG stolen from his car in the Rolling Hills area many years ago. I'll bet he didn't hear the end of that for a while.

I also remember a group of LEOs (on their way to tactical training on the East coast) that had several full-auto weapons stolen from their SUV while they were all inside IHOP eating breakfast. I guess they were unfamiliar with the wise concept of always leaving a gear guard!

Anonymous said...

One side benefit to having a good gun safe is that you can also store important papers, valuables, small pricey electronics, cameras, jewelry, heirlooms and other such stuff in there for theft and fire protection. It's doubly nice when out of town for vacation or the weekend. Put it in the basement and bolt it down, so they can't just easily fridge-dolly it out to a truck.

A safe won't stop a determined thief (especially when it's not built like a diamond-merchant lock box), but it will slow them down some, and combined with an alarm system, it makes them have to spend too much time on target, with great risk of apprehension, when they can go down the road and hit a softer target.

Gun Nut said...

I have been trying to promote new legislation that would make using a firearm in a First or Second Degree Murder,Burglary, Rape, Kidnapping or Robbery a mandatory life sentence. Also anyone who steals a firearm should be given a mandatory five years. Knowingly buying, selling or possessing a stolen firearm would be a mandatory sentence of five years also. No good time or parole for any of these crimes.

Another thing I would like to see is a national database of all stolen firearms serial numbers and descriptions posted on the InterNet with search capability by everyone.

Gun Nut

Anonymous said...

Let's add that between the couch cushions generally isn't a good place to store a handgun. If you need to keep one that close, a holster is a better place to put it.

I might be wrong, but that story makes the BS hairs stand up on the back of my brain. Maybe the two perps were over there to do something else besides play vid games and steal the handgun. Could this be a drug-related incident? With no names, I can't check their local RAP at the county attorney's site for previous drug cases, but I've got a funny feeling about it.

Anonymous said...

Gun Nut,

The new legislation you refer to sounds like you'd be trying to make people responsible for their own behavior?

Crazy, but it just might work.

I don't own any guns, not even a bb gun. I don't belong to the NRA either. I just can't recall hearing about a gun discharges on it's own.

Tom Casady said...

Anon. 12:51,

Please let me know where to mail your Junior Detective badge, you have successfully passed the exam. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I don't know where I'd put the JD badge, so I'll just settle for an NCIC login & password. I'd start digging like a badger.

Seriously, that makes me wonder about the details of the case even more. I can come up with about half a dozen variations of what happened, but I'll probably never know for sure.

Oh, where do I get one of those cars that comes with a hidden bonus (A8-000801). Now that's a new sort of buyer incentive!

Tom Casady said...


Nice little S&W Model 14. I saw Ofc. Martin in the hallway yesterday on his way to tag it into property.

2011 said...

Chief, why dont you tell the stories on how some of your officers have had their weapons stolen from unlocked public lockers, personal vehicles, not to mention their homes. And some of these officers were of higher rank.

Tom Casady said...

Well, I can only think of one right at the moment--about a decade ago. I don't doubt there have been others, but you'd have to refresh my memory.

The need to carefully secure firearms applies to any gun owner, police officers included.

Anonymous said...

Here's the one that first came to mind. Fortunately, it was recovered quickly, but it undoubtedly prompted stern attention from the relevant team Captain, if not higher up as well, and probably a reminder for all to keep control of their duty gear.

Both charges against Mr. Livings were dismissed, case closed.

Anonymous said...

Do you really have a Junior Detective badge?

I would like to get one for myself so I can give to my neighbor.

Anonymous said...

...Let me get this straight Chief:
Criminals are using stolen guns in illegal and/or careless ways, but it is the law abiding gun owners' collective fault that these guns are in the hands of these criminals?

Um, okay Chief. Talk about misplacing the blame.

Tom Casady said...

Anonymous 11:43--

No, I'm saying no such thing. It's not the victim's fault. I'm simply saying the obvious: if gun owners like me do a better job keeping our guns secure, it will make it more difficult for burglars and thieves to relieve us of them. A locked window is better than just a screen. A closed and locked garage door is better than an open one. Waiting until tomorrow morning to load up your gear for the hunting trip is better than leaving it all in your pickup tonight. What part of that is so hard to understand?

Anonymous said...

I think you mean that you shouldn't make your person or property a soft target for criminals. In an ideal world, there would be no crime, but Utopia this will never be. Guns (and I'm a multiple-gun owner, for what it's worth) are a highly preferred loot type of burglars, right up there with cash and quality jewelry.

One of the things you deal with when you drive an SUV (which I do), or any trunkless vehicle, is that it's hard to hide any non-tiny cargo from view. Even if you cover it, it's obvious that something is there. You just don't leave anything in there worth stealing, covered or not. If you do, you make your vehicle and swag a softer target.

Again, we don't live in Utopia (and no one ever will, a point missed by those that use the term without understanding its literary origin). If you have to load your vehicle for a hunting trip, pull it in the garage, close and lock the garage door, and load up. Leave it there until you depart, and don't worry about waking up the family at 4 am when you fire up the truck and leave - they've awakened you many times anyway.

Parking a gear-loaded SUV, hatchback, or any other not-visibly-empty vehicle outside anywhere for any length of time is your right, but it's just dumb to do it.

anonymous 11:43 said...

"What part of that is so hard to understand?"

Its not that the post was hard to understand, it just implies that there is an excuse for the criminals doing what they did, that somehow the law-abiding citizen is also to blame. And its not necessarily about guns either, as Anon 1:02 pointed out.

Just wondering; if a woman is very scantily dressed and intoxicated, is she to blame when she is raped?

Tom Casady said...


Of course she's not, and there is no such implication in my post!

I react strongly when people read their own preconceived notions about what I think into what I did not say, and do not think! If I bit back too hard, please accept my apology.

Read the other 146 blogs posts I've authored, and you will find a recycling theme about crime prevention practices that can reduce exposure to residential garage burglary, larceny from auto, apartment patio door burglary, GPS theft, home invasions, and others. No difference.

Chris Zeeb said...

Chief- You are right, firearms owners absolutely need to better secure their firearms to make it more difficult for them to fall into the wrong hands.

However firearms owners are sick and tired of being attacked by the news media, politicians and police chiefs, who often tend to blame us for the gun violence on the street. We get punished by all of these ridiculous laws that keep piling up on the books. We know the bad guys aren't following them, so who are these laws made for?

Why so many anonymous posters here? You guys afraid to post your real name?

Tom Casady said...

I understand that, Chris.

Anonymous said...

I've said before that if I ever have a gripe about the Chief he does his job, I'll put it in a snail mail letter with my full contact info and mail it to his office at LPD, not post it on an blog comment thread. Until then, I'll keep posting this way.

Big Chief said...

I grew up in one of those Utopian communities that are very rare nowadays. All of us farm kids carried a loaded shotgun either in the trunk of our cars during hunting season or in a gun rack in the pickup and left them parked, unlocked and unattended on the High School parking lot. I never heard of any guns ever being stolen. Guns were everywhere. Even the city kids
(2,500 pop.) went hunting. Fist fights were common but other than a few loose teeth and a black eye I never heard of anyone seriously injured. Thieves and bad manners were not tolerated. I was born in 1946 and the community I am talking about was in Eastern Colorado. However I would be willing to bet that Lincoln in the late 1950's was similar to my hometown even though it is fifty times larger. We live in a different world today.

Hey Zeeb. Good to see you here. Have you been to the Chinese buffet lately?

Big Chief

Chris Zeeb said...

Chinese Buffet?

You've got me stumped on that one

amazed at public decisions said...

Dear Mr Cassidy,

All the guns that were stolen from the Scheels business had one flaw. The guns were not required to have gun locks on all of the triggers. If we mandated trigger locks on all firearms in Lancaster County, wouldn't this prevent some of these issues we have?

I understand that the criminals could then just drill off the locks and have their way then, but it would with no doubt present more difficulty.

The man who stole the firearm in the mall rampage for example. If there was a gun lock on the AK-47, would he have been able to do what he did? Im guessing the drug addict would have deemed it too much trouble.

What would it hurt, for this city to require trigger locks on all firearms? In store sales, in home, or anywhere for that matter should be required to have a trigger lock's on all these firearms.

My guess is if these guns that had been stolen, would have had a trigger lock on them, a few if not all of them would have been discarded as useless.

We as a community need to take action to try and stop some of these tragedies from happening in the future. Requirement of trigger locks is one, but a serious step we could take to try and stop any of these terrible events from happening again.

The trigger lock was invented when The Nation had gun control in its focus. Much of the Country never used this device we created to its advantage.

SO trigger locks, trigger locks, trigger locks!!!!!

ALSO one other comment. NOBODY hunts with firearms like the AK-47, or countless other guns available on the market, so again remind me why we allow them to be sold?

My friend was shot point blank by a 9mm to the head. He is living today, but not doing so great. Some gangsta thought he would be cool taking a gun to a party his woman was at, to make a stance. This is they type of events these firearms are used for.

Whens the last time you loaded up your handgun to go hunting Chief?

How much longer is the public going to accept handguns?

I understand the use of handguns for personnel, but why does the general public need them?

Why did we approve them to be concealed again?

Tom Casady said...

Dear 10:49 a.m. on Jan 4--

Yep, I hadn't been thinking about that one specifically, because it was more like given away than stolen.

The charges against the defendant, by the way, were dismissed in State court, but filed as felon in possession in Federal court, where the case is pending.

When you're looking at the County Attorney's database, keep in mind that it's only the cases handled by the County Attorney. City and Federal prosecutions (as well as other counties) are not in it.

Tom Casady said...


I'm not sure you were looking for a response so much as making a statement, but I do appreciate your time, and I am sorry about what happened to your friend.

I don't pretend to have all the solutions for gun violence. I didn't think having more people carrying guns was it, which is why I was personally opposed to concealed carry. My bigger concern, though has always been the easy access the bad guys have to guns--both legally (through loopholes) and illegally.

While I think trigger locks are a great idea (we issue them to all our officers), I don't think they will prevent burglary and theft of guns. It's pretty easy to defeat a trigger lock in the comfort of your basement with a screwdriver and vice grips--which won't deter a thief. A gun safe is much better, but frankly just a LOCKED DOOR and some COMMON SENSE would prevent a lot of the ones we experience here in Lincoln.

Since this post is getting a lot of attention, here's my thoughts on the better alternative to trigger locks or none at all that those of you keeping a handguns at home, here's the style I like. Several companies make nice electronic handgun vaults. The key-only variety are not my choice.

If you have children, keep the override key in your office, not at home. I assure you that any 14 year old worth his salt can find the hidden key is, and a few other things that Moms and Dads think are hidden.

I could tell you some stories....

Rex Danger said...

Jan 5 Anonymous,

You are prone to severe general sweeping generalizations. I own one of those evil "assault rifles". It's black and everything. It's a great coyote hunting gun. It goes "bang" one time everytime I pull the trigger one time, just like the 22 rifles I also own and the shotguns I use for trapshooting. The AR is just cosmetically challenged is all. It functions no differently than the guns I own that are currently socially acceptable.

Hunting with handguns happens all the time. They are very challenging to shoot accurately compared to a long gun and since most all of them are ballistically inferior to rifles, the hunter must actually use stealth and REAL hunting abilities to use them ethically. Plus handguns make an excellent backup for those of us who pursue large dangerous game, like Alaskan brown bears.

Concealed carry is now legal in 48 states. 16 other states honor Nebraska's permit within the bounds of their state lines.

Concealed carry has been the law of the land in Nebraska for over a year now. Where has it been a problem, here or anywhere else?

When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

Rex Danger said...

I keep my firearms locked up whenever unattended, be it at home or in the vehicle. Good safes aren't cheap but I don't want my firearms to end up in the hands of thieves.

Anonymous said...

I don't expect the police to protect me or my property 24/7, nor do I consider that their job. It's my job to do that, including being vigilant, observant, and avoiding risky situations, among other precautions. Three things are necessary for a criminal to complete a crime; motivation, ability, and opportunity. Refuse to provide the opportunity, and crime will be greatly reduced. Living smart doesn't mean living boring, it means looking out for yourself, your loved ones, and your neighbors.

Leaving vehicles loaded and unlocked. Here are a couple of thefts from last month, where they also left the vehicles unlocked, in addition to loading them up with attractive swag:



The second one is a short hop from an LPD substation, but not within sight of it, but that means they can quickly come and investigate the crime that you could have discouraged or prevented. Any area with a check-cashing place (always a bad omen when one springs up in your neighborhood, kids) is nowhere to let your guard down.

2011 said...

Well Chief, After some research I discovered in 1994, a sergeant had his firearm and shield stolen from his personal vehicle. In approx 99, an officer had several guns stolen from his home during a burglary. Around 2002, an officer had his weapon stolen from a UNLOCKED public locker at a private gym. Most recently, didn't an officer leave his gun and duty belt unattended in public, which ended up in the hands of a transient?

JoeMerchant24 said...

I tend to agree with the Chief here.

As gunowners, it is our responsibility safely secure our firearms.

Trigger locks, as has been pointed out, as pretty much worthless in the case of burglary. Firmly secured safes are the way to go. The gremlin who in the Von Maur shootings had plenty of time to pop a trigger lock off.

As for the AK, the 7.62x39mm round it fires is identical in ballistics to the venerable .30-30 round that has likely been used to kill more deer in this country than any other.

The AR makes a wonderful deer rifle, in the appropriate caliber (6.8mm) and a good varmint/coyote rifle in its native .223.

Where the chief and I differ (and always have) is in our belief of citizen self-protection.

I can understand his concern about officers encountering armed people.

I am, however, greatly unconcerned about that. I am concerned about waking up the next morning. So I have gone through all the training, paperwork, vetting, hassle, and expense.

Guns are metal, polymer, and wood. No different than any other inanimate object. What they are used for is solely up the discretion of the user. I apologize for putting words in your mouth, sir, but I think the chief agrees with that.

The stance he takes, and that I wholeheartedly support, is that lawful gunowners need to do our part to ensure OUR guns don't end up in the hands of a user with bad intentions.

amazed at public decisions said...

Chief my comment was with you not @ you = ) I watch Channel 5, and know your views on these issues.

Tom Casady said...

Yes, that's how I took it, Amazed. Thanks. Keep thinking about these issues, we need more citizens who are thoughtfully engaged in the discussion.

Rex Danger said...

Ain't it the truth? Minds are like parachutes. Both work best when open.

Interesting link for every thoughtfully engaged citizen out there.

Anonymous said...

A year late and a dollar short.....

I live in S.O. where there is no police protection, so my gun(s)must be ready for protection! And I personally believe that a person has a right to carry a concealed weapon. It is mostly ignorant liberals and Elitist police that don't want folks, like me, to protect me or my family. Sorry Chief, I have a lot of respect for you, but you are chiming the OPD gong on this one.