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Milstead says majority of agency’s 32 missing weapons were stolen

Director or Arizona DPS Frank Milstead (Facebook Photo | AZWIN Arizona Women's Initiative Network)

PHOENIX — A majority of the 32 weapons reported missing by the Arizona Department of Public Safety were stolen, according to the head of the agency.

Col. Frank Milstead told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Bruce St. James & Pamela Hughes that only one of the weapons is unaccounted for.

“All of those guns, except for that one, have been stolen in a burglary, have been taken out of a trooper’s car in a burglary, their house was broken into, whatever it was,” Milstead said Friday.

“It’s not like we just left a gun lying at McDonald’s and we just forgot about it. They were taken in crimes,” he added.

“We’re just like everybody else, people break into our vehicles. My guys take their cars home, they park them in remote areas of the state and people take advantage of that.”

ABC15 reported Sunday that the firearms for the Department of Public Safety have been missing statewide since 2008. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office is missing 50.

Milstead said his troopers are told to take their weapons out from their vehicles at the end of their shift and secure them in their house or lock them in a giant metal box in some of the newer cars.

But he said even that does not ensure that they will not be stolen. “The rack that they sit in is also a locked rack, but (thieves) will pry them out and break them out of those racks,” he said.

Troopers whose weapons have been stolen can face a range of disciplines, such as a day off or a written reprimand.

“Sometimes my guys forget, sometimes they’re just lazy, whatever it is. But we do lose weapons that way, so that’s why there’s rules in place,” Milstead said.

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