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This has been an interesting story out this way for the last couple of days.
Police superintendent 'sick to my stomach' over stolen assault rifle
Clara Ho, Calgary Herald
Published on: April 6, 2015
Last Updated: April 6, 2015 6:51 AM MDT
A city police officer will be suspended with pay after a patrol rifle was stolen from his private vehicle Saturday night, sparking a criminal investigation and internal probe with oversight from Alberta’s police watchdog.
The off-duty officer was heading home from work when he apparently stopped into a restaurant on Crowfoot Terrace N.W. at Crowfoot Crossing just before midnight.
When he returned to his personal vehicle in the parking lot, he realized someone had broken into the Subaru and made off with a hardcover case containing a police-issue Colt C8 rifle — which the officer was taking home to clean — and two magazines containing 28 rounds each.
The case was locked but apparently improperly tethered to the vehicle, said Supt. Kevan Stuart, adding it would not be difficult to break open the case “if somebody is motivated.”
Sources have confirmed the officer is Const. Stephen Baker.
Investigators are now looking for CCTV footage and trying to determine if other nearby vehicles were also broken into. At this time, police have not received any reports of other vehicle break-in thefts in the area, prompting investigators to look into whether the officer’s Subaru was targeted.
“Sick to my stomach,” said Stuart, when asked how he felt upon learning about the incident. “There is no reason, in my mind, why an officer would take this firearm home.”
The case has sparked a criminal investigation into the storage of the firearm, as well as an internal investigation with the professional standards section to determine whether any policies and procedures were breached, which the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) is overseeing.
Stuart said he was also made aware of allegations on social media about police canvassing vehicles in the area in a bid to search for clues in the case, which could potentially spark a separate professional standards investigation.
The officer, a three-year member with the Calgary Police Service, is being suspended with pay.
“If our investigation determines there is any Criminal Code breaches that put the public safety and officers’ safety (at risk), this officer’s career is in huge jeopardy,” Stuart said. “We hold our officers to a very high standard, and this will be an extensive investigation.”
He said it’s not uncommon for police officers to bring their handguns home, especially after a night shift, with court duties to follow the next morning. But he stressed that every officer is subject to the same rules and laws as Canadian citizens in regards to the safe storage of firearms.
Overall, he prefers that officers keep their guns at the office.
“I’m going to say that right out, and I know that’s going to create some controversy: we do not want our officers taking their firearms home. There’s nothing good that can come of that,” Stuart said.
If left in the wrong hands, the rifle could cause “significant damage,” which is why investigators are leaving “no stone unturned” in their search for the firearm, he added.
The Calgary Police Service displays a police-issue Colt C8 rifle in its case similar to one that was stolen from an off-duty officer’s private vehicle on Saturday, April 4, 2015 from a northwest parking lot.