SARASOTA, Fla. — The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office is investigating after a detective had two guns and specialized equipment stolen from his unlocked agency-issued vehicle.
The 18-year detective left the unmarked vehicle unlocked overnight at his North Port home. The theft happened between Monday night and Tuesday morning, according to sheriff's office spokesperson Kaitlyn Perez.
Sheriff Tom Knight is not happy about it, Perez said.
“It’s a significant mistake," she said. "The sheriff is disappointed."
The detective, Brian Keane, is a member of the SWAT team, Perez said, and had specialty weapons in his car, including a 308 high-powered sniper rifle. Keane's Sig Sauer 9mm service gun was also stolen.
"This is not something that needs to be in the hands of a criminal or really anyone not in law enforcement," Perez said.
Investigators say they're now watching local pawn shops to see if the guns or equipment turn up.
"If (pawn shops) are doing it properly it would be noted right away," said Francis Misantone, co-owner of The Bullet Hole in Sarasota.
Misantone said he thinks it's more likely the guns wind up out of state, sold on the street.
“If he was smart enough to know it was a deputy’s car and what was in there to steal he wouldn’t go to pawn it because he knows he can’t get away with it," Misantone said.
The sheriff’s office launched an internal affairs investigation to determine which policies Keane violated. Leaving his vehicle unlocked and unattended is against policy, Perez said.
For now, Keane remains on active duty.
“People certainly make mistakes but we hold ourselves to a higher standard," Perez said. “Our biggest concern right now for the community is to make sure we can get that weapon back into the right hands."
Anyone with information on the burglary or stolen equipment is asked to call 941-861-4900 or 941-366-8477.
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