LCSO: Negligence not behind theft of deputy’s weapons

FORT MYERS, Fla. The theft of weapons from a cruiser parked at the home of a Lee County sheriff’s deputy wasn’t a result of negligence, Undersheriff Carmine Marceno said.

The sheriff’s office believes the cruiser from which guns, ammunition, a taser and other law enforcement paraphernalia were stolen was targeted, Marceno said. The deputy discovered around noon Sunday — while taking out the trash — that the cruiser had been broken into.

“He absolutely did nothing wrong, followed protocol and locked that vehicle,” Marceno said. “Unfortunately he was a victim of a crime.”

The sheriff’s office isn’t identifying the deputy, who works in special operations, or saying where the theft took place.

Sheriff’s office policy allows deputies to keep weapons in their vehicles overnight, in case they need to get to a crime scene at a moment’s notice, Marceno said. Deputies can also keep weapons in their homes, but that wouldn’t necessarily have prevented the theft in this case, he added.

“How can I stop a suspect who wants to burglarize a home?” Marceno said. “So, unfortunately, we’re in the same type of catch-22.”

Four guns were among the stolen items; two were the deputy’s personal weapons, and two were sheriff’s office-issued. It’s not unusual for a deputy to carry that many, Marceno said.

“Specialty units have special types of firearms that are issued to them. Deputies do carry a duty weapon and they also carry backup weapons,” he said.

The sheriff’s office has made “some progress” toward recovering the weapons, according to Marceno.

“I can tell you we won’t stop until we do,” he said.