SALEM, Ore. — The Marion County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) disclosed on Wednesday that a member of the agency's SWAT team lost a gun and tactical gear to a vehicle break-in overnight.
On Wednesday morning, an off-duty employee of the sheriff's office in southeast Salem went out to find that their personal vehicle had been targeted in a break-in, MCSO said.
Equipment stolen during the theft included gear from the SWAT team, including a green tactical vest and helmet, portable police radio, a gas mask, a black semiautomatic AR-15 style rife with optics, rifle and pistol magazines loaded with ammunition, and a medic kit.
The theft was reported to the Salem Police Department for investigation because it was within their jurisdiction.
“It is humbling to share about incidents such as this, however, we are absolutely committed to being transparent with our community and engaging their assistance by soliciting tips that may help us recover the stolen equipment," said Sheriff Joe Kast in a statement. "We will be conducting an internal review of the incident to determine if there were violations of policy or procedures.”
Anyone with information about the theft is asked to call the Salem Police Department tip line at 503-588-8477, or text TIPMCSO and the tip to 847411.
When KGW investigated the issue back in November of last year, law enforcement officials said that many of the guns used in crimes around the Portland area are either stolen, received through a straw purchase or bought on the underground market.
“The vast majority come from private citizens who haven’t secured their firearms properly and they're stolen from their homes or vehicles,” said Jason Chudy, spokesperson for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) in Seattle.
Police are still looking for a cache of guns stored in a trailer that were stolen from a gun dealer in Jantzen Beach last week. While the trailer reappeared in a crash on the Interstate Bridge, investigators say the guns remain unaccounted for.