Stolen guns from ALE


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9mm+
September 13, 2009, 09:27 PM
As proud as I am of my NRA life membership, I don't display my NRA sticker on my car for concern that my car could be a target for thieves. I do carry firearms to/from the range and gun shops and I don't want to advertise the fact that they may be in the car.

The Sigs stolen from ALE would fetch a pretty penny for sure.

RALEIGH - Every agent at the N.C. Division of Alcohol Law Enforcement has a state-issued assault rifle, and two of the expensive and powerful firearms are missing.
"I am extremely concerned about this," said Bill Chandler, the state's ALE director since 2007. "We don't know where the weapons are."

The thefts and an accidental shooting this summer have led to new policies at ALE. At the same time, the incidents have brought attention to the agency's growing arsenal.

With just 104 full-time agents, ALE's primary responsibility is to enforce state laws on the purchase and sale of alcoholic beverages. Though its officers are rarely involved in situations where the use of deadly force is required, ALE is the only state law-enforcement agency to provide every agent with an assault rifle.

"Wow, I didn't know they had those," said Sen. Ed Jones, a Democrat from Enfield who is a retired state trooper. "I'm sitting here trying to think of a good reason to justify why ALE would need that much firepower, but I'm having some trouble."

Chandler, who has one of the agency's Sig assault rifles, said Friday that the weapons are essential for his agents.

On Dec. 11, ALE Agent Bryan S. Irvin reported that his state-issued Sig Sauer model 552 assault rifle was stolen out of a Pontiac Grand Prix in the driveway of his home. Also stolen were two 30- round magazines, a targeting laser and a barrel-mounted tactical flashlight. There were no signs of forced entry, according to a report filed by the Davie County Sheriff's Office.

On March 4, Agent Derwin Brayboy reported to Fayetteville Police that his Sig assault rifle was missing. Brayboy was unsure how long his weapon had been gone, but he suggested in an internal ALE report that it might have been stolen out of the trunk of his car 11 days earlier as he raided a nightclub.

ALE issued new procedures following the thefts and now requires agents to inventory their equipment each week. They must check boxes to confirm they still have their handgun, assault rifle, bullet-resistant vest, walkie-talkie, binoculars and badge.

Securing side arms

On July 20, the same day an agent in Charlotte reported that his handgun had been stolen out of his car, Chandler sent an e-mail instructing his officers to secure their side arms with handcuffs.

"The weapon shall be locked with the cable through the trigger guard," wrote Chandler. "If the cable will not fit through the trigger guard ... handcuffs should be locked around the weapon cable and the weapon should be covered so as to hide it."

On Aug 24, ALE Special Agent Nelson W. Corthell accidentally shot himself in the hand at home in Hendersonville. The bullet lodged in his arm, according to his 911 call.

About two hours later, another e-mail was sent to all ALE officers.

"Whenever you secure a weapon using the issued cable lock or any other means (handcuffs, etc.) it is vital that the weapon be rendered safe by unloading it," wrote Patrick Forbis, a special agent-in-charge in Elizabeth City. "This unloading should be done first prior to placing any security device on the weapon."

A salesman at Hill's Sporting Goods, a Raleigh gun store, said Friday that he has never heard of anyone using handcuffs to secure a firearm, especially a loaded one.

"That doesn't sound safe," said Bobby Simpson, who has sold rifles and pistols for 36 years. Trigger locks designed for safely storing handguns are available at the store for $14 each, he said.

This is not the first time ALE officials have had to answer questions about the agency's handling of firearms. ALE Director Ronald Dale resigned in 1997 as The News & Observer reported that the agency had bought M-14 rifles, a military weapon that can be fired like a machine gun. Dale kept three at his hunting lodge.

Well-armed agency

The Sigs the agents use cost $1,495 each and are typically marketed to SWAT teams and Special Forces soldiers for close-quarters, urban combat. The short-barreled rifle uses the same ammunition as the larger M-16 assault rifles issued in the U.S. military.

ALE has spent $182,390 on 122 rifles since 2006, using money from federal seizures involving alcohol, drugs and illegal gambling.

By comparison, the State Bureau of Investigation authorizes its 259 field agents to have a Colt AR-15, the semi-automatic version of the M-16. They cost $890 each. Fewer than 200 agents actually have the weapons, however.

The N.C. Highway Patrol, with more than 1,800 officers, has just five Sig assault rifles for use by a special team, said spokesman Capt. Everett Clendenin. Troopers cruising the state's highways are typically issued Sig pistols and 12-gauge shotguns.

In four years, no ALE officer has needed to shoot one of the assault rifles outside of a firing range. Chandler said he prays they never will.

An agent was killed in a 1994 shootout. Chandler, a 30-year veteran, said he was forced to shoot a man brandishing a shotgun outside a bar in 1983.

"Basically, when you deal with alcohol and alcohol sales outlets, that's a microcosm of society," the director said. "Our agents, every day when they go into these locations, they may run into drugs, alcohol, material support for terrorism, money laundering, tax evasion. If you can imagine it, we do it."

Upgrading handguns

ALE is now replacing its Sig handguns, bought in 2003 for about $640 each, with Kimber pistols costing $1,055 each.

Similar pistols are used by U.S. Marines assigned to the elite Special Operations Command and the U.S. Olympic rapid-fire target shooting team, according to Kimber's Web site.

Despite cutbacks in other areas of state government, ALE is spending $158,250 in forfeiture funds to buy 150 of the pistols, providing enough extras to outfit retired ALE officers who work part time as reserve agents.

Though the purchase didn't require state tax dollars, Sen. Ellie Kinnaird questioned Friday whether the purchase in the current economic environment was a wise expenditure of public money.

"Who made this decision?" asked Kinnaird, a Carrboro Democrat who co-chairs the legislative committee that oversees state spending for justice and public safety. "We're supposed to be fiscally responsible. We're supposed to be prudent with any money that comes under our purview, and that includes ALE. I would have to question this."

Director Chandler got his new Kimber last week. The pistols have several special features, he said, including an engraved ALE seal.

"If one of these guns gets stolen, it makes it readily identifiable," Chandler said. "We're considered a cutting-edge agency. We always try to equip our people with the best equipment we can."

The new pistols also come with trigger locks.

The decommissioned Sig handguns the Kimbers are replacing will be offered for sale to ALE personnel at about half the price the agency paid for them a few years ago.

An avid firearms buff and collector, the ALE director declined to say how many guns he has at home.

"I don't want to be a target," Chandler said, worried about potential burglars.

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kdstrick
September 13, 2009, 09:43 PM
Sleep well knowing the government is spending your money on cool new toys. Oh well... I guess I'd rather my money go to guns instead of paying some dead-beat's mortgage. :)

THE DARK KNIGHT
September 13, 2009, 09:45 PM
Who knows, maybe there's more to this. Sounds like an inside job to me.

On Dec. 11, ALE Agent Bryan S. Irvin reported that his state-issued Sig Sauer model 552 assault rifle was stolen out of a Pontiac Grand Prix in the driveway of his home. Also stolen were two 30- round magazines, a targeting laser and a barrel-mounted tactical flashlight. There were no signs of forced entry, according to a report filed by the Davie County Sheriff's Office.

9mm+
September 13, 2009, 10:02 PM
I was thinking the same thing, or that the agent was being cased and left his car unlocked.

22lr
September 13, 2009, 10:12 PM
Nothing like keeping dangerous firearms out of the hands of criminals. :rolleyes:

smithmax
September 13, 2009, 11:22 PM
Sounds like somebody forgot to lock his car up. I like the part about the guy keeping 3 Mini-14's at his hunting lodge...

THE DARK KNIGHT
September 13, 2009, 11:24 PM
Sounds like somebody forgot to lock his car up.

I wonder which of his buddies "stole" it.

DBR
September 13, 2009, 11:39 PM
Good ole boys

cuervo
September 14, 2009, 12:05 AM
I like the part about the guy keeping 3 Mini-14's at his hunting lodge...

I'm sure "M-14" was correct as typed in the story.

"I don't want to be a target," Chandler said, worried about potential burglars.

Good thing he doesn't have a CCW where his name and address would be a public record for the paper to publish.

paintballdude902
September 14, 2009, 12:12 AM
wait...... the ale has an assault rifle? im gonna go burn my fake i.d. now

why the heck would anyone use handcuffs to lock up a gun? ive been able to pick a set of police handcuffs sicn ei was 13 years old double lock and all (i got a set to screw with the cop next door, he used to think it was funny to go to school and church functions and handcuff me so i learned to pick them took all of 20 mins to get good at it)

i love how he says he doesnt want to be targeted well u just make yourself a possible target by doing the interview and when you say you dont want to be a target then it makes people think you have something to hide like a very large collection of firearms heck if i wanted to id be wiling to put money on it that i could type in ALE director Chandler and find out his first name then type the first and last name in and narrow down the results by looking at the addresses and area codes since he probably lives in Raleigh

man its a good thing im a nice guy and smart enough not to be a crook or else i could do something really stupid

9mm+
September 14, 2009, 08:07 AM
he suggested in an internal ALE report that it might have been stolen out of the trunk of his car 11 days earlier as he raided a nightclub.

When I was in the military, any weapon checked out of the armory had to be accounted for 24/7. The ALE agent didn't even notice that his Sig 552 was missing for 11 DAYS??

Tim the student
September 14, 2009, 09:32 AM
The ALE agent didn't even notice that his Sig 552 was missing for 11 DAYS??

No kidding. I bet (and hope) they are doing some layouts from heck to account for EVERYTHING now.

How would you not notice that it was gone?

THE DARK KNIGHT
September 14, 2009, 11:52 AM
How would you not notice that it was gone?

Because it's an inside job. 11 days missing and not noticed? Yeah OK...

c5_nc
September 14, 2009, 12:03 PM
They are kept in the trunk and rarely used. I could see it going 11days, that may only be 3-4 work days. I don't check my trunk every day and they 11 day thing was just a guess. Depends on how much stuff is in the trunk, I could see rifles being missed for months if they were removed from the case and case was left. I don't have a problem with them having the guns, they bought from seized money and they are limited on what they can spend it on. Sig demoed the 556s here, LE can buy new Colt M16s for $780 so they did not make any since to purchase.

9mm+
September 14, 2009, 12:15 PM
c5 -- I don't check my trunk often, either, but I certainly would if it had a Sig 552 in it. I am not picking on the ALE (all LEO's have tough, stressful jobs), but I see this as complacency on the part of the organization. If accountability is not stressed and regular reporting made the norm, these things will happen. Stolen weapons from LEO's getting into the wrong hands is a bad, bad thing.

Kindrox
September 14, 2009, 01:36 PM
New Kimbers with kewl insignias sound like instant trophies for BGs.

Jorg Nysgerrig
September 14, 2009, 01:59 PM
Lots of armchair quarterbacking, not a lot of useful information on this one.

Claiming it is an inside job with no further evidence than that news story certainly isn't appropriate.

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