NYPD: Thefts of police guns, vests may be inside job

About 180 people work in the station house, where firearms and body armor disappeared from lockers

By Rich Calder and Bill Sanderson
The New York Post

Four 9mm guns have vanished from police officers' lockers at the East Village station house - brazen thefts committed right under the noses of Internal Affairs Bureau investigators, sources said yesterday.

The crook has also taken cash, jewelry, two bulletproof vests and an iPad in 10 to 12 thefts from the seventh-floor locker room of the Ninth Precinct station house on East Fifth Street, the sources said.

IAB investigators have been on the case since the first gun theft was reported in February - yet the heists have continued.

Shocked officers say the IAB should focus more on the chance police guns got into the hands of criminals, and less on monitoring cops in traffic court - an effort begun last year in the wake of the Bronx ticket-fixing scandal.

"Maybe IAB should spend less time in traffic court and more time trying to get criminals," one source said.

"Whoever is doing this is pretty ballsy. I can't believe the department, especially the Internal Affairs Bureau, isn't taking this more seriously.

"Suppose those guns end up in the wrong hands? Imagine if one of these guns ends up being used on a cop."

Night-shift officers are the main victims in the spate of thefts. The most recent, involving a gun, happened Sunday night, said the sources.

The crook has not stolen from more than one locker in a day.

Cops suspect an inside job because the room is inaccessible to anyone walking in off the street.

But there's no shortage of possible suspects - about 180 people work in the station house, including officers, detectives, supervisors and non-uniform NYPD employees.

And the sources said the thief has had an easy time breaking into the lockers, installed during a renovation five years ago.

The crook doesn't even have to touch the flimsy combination locks.

"If you just bang on the lockers they pop open," said one source.

When finished, the thief can slam the locker's door shut, leaving no trace of it having been opened.

That's kept officers from discovering the heists until they notice something is gone.

When the first two officers to lose guns reported them missing, they were grilled by IAB investigators, who first suspected they'd merely lost them.

Copyright 2012 N.Y.P. Holdings, Inc.

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