SANTA FE (KRQE) - A police gun is in the hands of a criminal after a crime of opportunity was too much for a brazen burglar to pass up.
It happened when the Santa Fe Police Department lieutenant left his handgun in his cop car overnight.
It's no secret that Santa Fe has a problem with thieves breaking into homes and cars. Police have even started up new task forces and tactical plans to combat all the burglaries.
Saturday night one of their own was hit.
"Obviously they knew he was a police officer; obviously they knew this was a police car," Capt. Aric Wheeler said.
Wheeler said the lieutenant's car was unmarked, but there were signs it belongs to an officer. The car was sitting right in front of the officer's house in his own driveway.
Wheeler said sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning someone smashed out a window of the unmarked cruiser. They then reached in and grabbed the 20-year veteran's police-issued handgun that was lying between his seats.
Wheeler said the handgun was a .40-caliber Glock 22.
Wheeler said the area where the cop lives is not a high-crime area. In fact, the lieutenant lives across the street from a school.
Now detectives are following up on leads hoping to find the crooks and the gun before it shows up in another police report.
"Who knows at this point in time where that gun is going to end up," Wheeler said. "We have a couple of leads we're following up on hoping we can recover the firearm before any criminal activity takes place with that weapon."
Police said residential burglaries are way down. Just a few months ago they were the lowest in six years. However, Wheeler said they are still having issues with auto burglaries.
Police said it might be hard for the crooks to pawn off the gun because it looks too suspicious.
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