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Revolver missing from stolen police car

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BRANDON -- Police in Brandon are working to track down a revolver which went missing from a stolen police vehicle.

Meanwhile, the officer whose vehicle was stolen says he isn’t embarrassed by the incident.

RM of Whitehead Police Service Chief Const. Doug Gormley says — during decades of service as a police officer — he’s known others to have their squad cars stolen.

"These things happen … I’m not the only one that it’s ever happened to and I won’t be the last. It’s happened to every police force, probably, at one time or another," Gormley said.

The RM-owned 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe — which is marked with the word "POLICE" on each side — was stolen from where it had been parked in the lane behind Gormley’s Brandon home, he confirmed in an interview Tuesday morning.

The SUV was there as of around 10:30 p.m. on Saturday. But, when Gormley stepped outside around 9 a.m. on Sunday, it was missing and he reported it stolen.

On Monday, city police got a tip to an abandoned vehicle which turned out to be the missing SUV. It was in an alley behind a business on Park Avenue, west of 18th Street.

By Tuesday morning, police had forensically scoured the vehicle for clues and done an inventory.

It was learned that missing from the vehicle was a .22-calibre Smith and Wesson revolver which had been secured in a locked case.

Brandon Police Service Sgt. Mike Pelechaty said police can’t release further details at this point and the matter is under investigation.

No suspects have been identified.

Gormley said as part of his job he would have the SUV around the clock, even when off-duty. The RM, he said, had asked him to take the vehicle home as he responds to calls at night, which include accidents.

He said that, on the night the SUV went missing, he’d left it locked and its alarm — which he said activates automatically when the doors are locked — was presumably on.

Gormley said the SUV was not equipped with an after-market immobilizer, but he didn’t know whether the factory-installed alarm had an immobilizer feature.

Contrary to what some posts to a local website might suggest, Gormley said, the SUV was not idling at the time it was taken and he still has both sets of keys.

He said it’s a mystery to him as to how the SUV was stolen.

It doesn’t appear that the windows were smashed, and he said he’s amazed that whoever took it could drive it away without the alarm going off.

His daughter’s 2012 Chevy pickup truck, which was parked right beside the police SUV, wasn’t taken.

There was no police radio in the vehicle and Gormley says he takes the portable unit he uses into his home each night.

There was speed radar equipment, lights and sirens inside the vehicle. And, most concerningly, the gun — which Gormley acknowledged he left inside the SUV — is now missing.

Gormley said the revolver is his own private weapon, and is licensed and registered to him.

He said the firearm, which wasn’t equipped with a trigger lock, was inside a small plastic case secured with a lock.

He said the case was placed in the front passenger area on the floor, and he’d believed the gun would be safe inside the locked vehicle.

A jar of .22-calibre ammunition was also inside the passenger area of the police vehicle, he said, although the BPS hasn’t indicated whether that was missing.

Gormley said he uses the gun for duty-related tasks such as pest control or to put down injured deer. He said the .22-calibre is safer to use in such cases than his more powerful 9-mm Smith and Wesson pistol issued through the RM.

He said he was wearing the 9-¬mm sidearm when he’d parked the SUV, so he carried that gun into his home with him and it wasn’t in the vehicle when it was stolen.

Gormley said he remains on duty using the RM’s former Crown Victoria police car.

He said he was told the SUV didn’t appear to be damaged, and understood that he may have it back by Tuesday afternoon.

RM of Whitehead officials could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.

Gormley has been the RM of Whitehead’s chief constable for seven years and is a former RCMP officer of 32 years.

ihitchen@brandonsun.com

 

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