PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A yearlong investigation has found that more than 200 firearms went missing from the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office between 1977 and 2015, the City Controller’s Office said Wednesday. Officials said a confidential complaint in the fall of 2019 sparked the investigation.
The initial complaint alleged 15 rifles and shotguns were missing from the sheriff’s office gun inventory, according to City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart. The investigation revealed 101 service firearms and 109 Protection From Abuse Act (PFA) weapons were missing from the inventory, Rhynhart said.
Sheriff Rochelle Bilal said she’ll implement the changes recommended in the report.
“It’s unacceptable that more than 200 guns that should be in the Sheriff’s Office custody cannot be located,” Rhynhart said. “The public needs to trust that the Sheriff’s Office is a reliable steward of its own property, as well as the personal property given to the Sheriff’s Office for safekeeping. While many of the issues identified pre-date Sheriff Bilal’s administration, I hope that she will take quick action to track down the missing guns, if possible, and ensure proper maintenance of the gun inventory moving forward.”
The report found many of the issues can be traced to inadequate recordkeeping, no formal procedures regarding inventory management, and disorganization in the armory.
Investigators found guns piled on the floor as well as haphazardly in boxes, cabinets and barrels, Rhynhart said. Some firearms were still loaded, which officials said is against common practice for both individuals and law enforcement agencies.
According to the report, 25 of the 101 missing service firearms belonged to former Deputy Sheriff Officers with no records of those guns ever being returned.
The full report can be read here.
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