The Daily Mail reports that an FBI agent’s sniper rifle was stolen from a car parked in front of his hotel in Salt Lake City a few days before President Obama was scheduled to speak there. The gun was inside a hard rifle case and was ‘secured properly’ to a truck safe with padlocks and chains while the car was parked at the Marriott Springhill Suites, according to police . . .

Police believe the thief stole the rifle by breaking the rear right passenger-side window, tying a rope around the rifle case’s handle or a cable lock, and using the momentum from another vehicle to then break the case’s handle free from the lock.

The window frame of the agent’s car was pulled from the door, which police believe could indicate the large case was ripped through the shattered window.

‘The rifle had been secured properly,’ Salt Lake City Police Detective Dennis McGowan told Fox 13 Salt Lake City.

‘There are all kinds of ways the weapon was secure. Yet someone was able to forcefully take the weapon.’

Before I drove off to college, I was cautioned by my parents about dallying too long with a car filled with most of my worldly possessions. “Anything in a car is a hammer-blow away from belonging to someone else,” I was told. So all I can say to this FBI agent is:

For real? You mean you couldn’t have brought the rifle into the hotel room with you? I mean, I try not to leave my five-year-old Garmin GPS in plain view when I leave my car unattended for a few hours. In broad daylight. I leave firearms locked up in the car only when no other alternatives are available.

How about you? Do you regularly leave firearms locked in your car?

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63 Responses to FBI Sniper Rifle Stolen From Hotel Parking Lot

    • Same here. Carry gun is locked in the car while I’m at work since I cannot carry there. My car is parked about 10 ft. away, and is visible through my office window.

      Today, there are also some other guns since I’m going target shooting with coworkers after work. It is nice to have POTG as coworkers even if we can’t carry there.

  1. Only if I’m nearby and have it in full view during the time I’m not in the vehicle. Otherwise…nope.

    For that matter, I don’t like leaving ANYTHING of value in an unattended vehicle, even groceries. Anything left in an unattended vehicle is a draw for…someone.

  2. On occasions when I do have to leave a firearm in my vehicle, like lunch after a morning at the range, I park near people.
    Smoking areas outside of a business always seem to have a few people congregating there.

  3. I mean if it was secured as they said then I don’t see it as wrongfully secured weapon. Hell if someone breaks in and steals your gun safe from your home(had a friend have a 30 gun safe stolen from his home, they cut the wall out to get to it!), are you going to say you should have brought all your guns in tow with you? My thing is the hotel had to be a decently high traffic area, how did no one see anything? If they did it as described that had to take several minutes.

    • Yes, but literally several minutes.

      That’s enough time to accomplish a lot of work while people are still figuring out what is happening.

      • True, but I believe this was planned. However crudely and hastely, they knew that rifle(or at least something valuable) was back there in that locked and secured case. As I’ve always been told locks are only ment to keep honest people honest. If someone wants something bad enough no amount of locks and chains will stop them.

    • “(had a friend have a 30 gun safe stolen from his home, they cut the wall out to get to it!)”

      Fail #1 – His big mouth advertised he had a gun safe.

      Fail #2 – There are ways to secure your safe to the structure. That’s nobody’s business unless you’re stupid enough to give guided tours to your gun safe. Posting an on-line pic of your loaded gun safe qualifies.

      • Correction #1: Don’t you think if they had the tools to remove an entire wall, that removing a few lag bolts or w/e secures it will matter?

        Correction #2: I live in the south, everyone owns guns and everyone knows that. We invite people in our homes, it’s courtesy. I’m not saying it wasn’t an inside job, but being a paranoid hermit is not living.

        I’m saying the same thing about the officers weapon, way too convenient to not be an inside job or at least been seen before by the perpetrator/s.

        • “Correction #1: Don’t you think if they had the tools to remove an entire wall, that removing a few lag bolts or w/e secures it will matter? ”

          Correcting your ‘correction’:

          Just how do you think they knew what tools to bring for the job?

          Living in the south, lag bolt your safe to the concrete pad. Free clue: There are different grades of bolt strength. Don’t buy ’em at Walmart. Don’t use lead anchors or other cheap hardware. Concrete block walls you reinforce with concrete or ideally at time of construction steel rebar and concrete. Wood structures you use whatever it takes, logging chain, etc.

          I invite people into my home, only my family knows the gun security situation. If you want to display the crown jewels, don’t whine when they’re stolen.

  4. Wow someone must have targeted this vehicle and really wanted that rifle. After it has been through that kind of a jarring event though I suppose it is probably no longer zeroed.

  5. I can see this becoming more relevant in Tennesseee. Until recently a business could all guns on their property. This included the parking lot and your personal vehicle parked there. Now that you are legally protected to leave your sidearm in the car I expect more cars to be broken into.

    • “Now that you are legally protected to leave your sidearm in the car I expect more cars to be broken into.”

      Use a little psychological warfare.

      Have gun owners leave empty holsters in plain view on the seat.

      Let the criminal wonder where the gun and its owner are.

      • The only problem is that if the owner were carrying his firearm, the owner would be carrying it on his or her person in the holster. If the holster is in the car, the gun might be too… and if not, hey, free holster! *smash*

  6. Hell, I take the face plate for my 5 year old Pioneer head unit out of my truck. Having nothing of value in plain view is a good deterrent against theft, but it’s still not perfect. I try not to leave anything of value in my truck, but when I have to, I stuff it under or behind the big old bench seat.

  7. Shit just happens sometimes, No matter how careful you are, sooner or later, it will happen to you! All you can do is secure your stuff the best you can, and make sure you don’t miss an insurance payment!

  8. I think that the equipment was in plain view. The rear window was broken, not the trunk lid. Forget firearms, would anyone leave a large pelican case and a bunch of “tactical” bags in the back of a SUV or car over night?? Probably didn’t even cover them. And running the “chain” threw the handle? I bet it was one I would never even use on a bike.

  9. Locked in a gun vault completely out of view – when the situation requires.

    Note: I was a smash-and-grab victim about 2 months ago. I’ve learned to keep the interior of my car looking like a rental – empty. Thieves tend to smash-and-grab when there appears to be something to grab. Otherwise, they move on to the next car.

    • From my experience taking larceny from auto reports that is 100 percent correct. Most thieves will not smash a window unless they see something of definite value immediately in view.
      Most larceny from autos I see are simply people walking around neighborhoods at night and tugging on door handles to see if the car unlocked. You’d be amazed at the items and cash people leave in vehicles they deliberately don’t lock. “But it’s such a safe neighborhood I didn’t think I needed to lock my doors”

    • ” I’ve learned to keep the interior of my car looking like a rental – empty.”

      *Winner*

      ‘Nuff said.

  10. A firearms left in public without a responsible party in visual or physical contact is unsecure. 1st thing Sam teaches you when he hands you an M16.

    Mr FBI “sniper”/marksman has something more important to do than to secure his weapon (as in HAVE IT ON HIM) at all times? His purpose in in life is some theoretical “security” mission. A field mission he is on a field operation every bit as much as a troop out on patrol in Iraq. How is he doing anything useful hanging out in the Marriot bar, at taxpayer expense, unarmed? Perhaps a rifle interferes with his gun while engaged in the established “dating” life of the Presidential entourage? Damn hate that.

    • It was locked up. I don’t want FBI agents walking around the city with sniper rifles on their shoulder.

      It’s just a rifle folks. There are millions of them out there. If it gets stolen, then it joins the millions out there in citizens’ hands. The rifle doesn’t hurt anyone if it is properly cared for.

      Whoever stole it should go to jail, of course, but I’m no more concerned about this theft than I am of a stereo getting stolen.

  11. I know quite a few federal agents who do the same thing. Official policy is they are too secure the weapons which would imply not leaving then in the trunk but I would have to say over 90% of the agents I know do leave then overnight in the trunk. It’s just human nature, it’s part of their equipment and they need to have it everyday, so they end up leaving it in the trunk.

    • Except I know plenty of contractors who have a bunch of tools they need everyday in their truck and almost every single one parks it in a locked garage. The one exception has a windowless van with a front fence and a high security shackle on the back.

  12. Seems an Ignorant or arrogant agent or agents {can’t happen to me because I am FBI!} learned a truthful lesson! I know it was revenge for Waco excuse {LOL}
    Bet is was Republicans trying to give the Department a better name!
    You can bet this will be investigated more than the IRS

  13. I try to not even leave any change in view in my truck cupholder so there’s the least reason to break my windows.

  14. My patrol car has guns in the electro-lok – an 870 and a Sig M400 AR. I’ve got several spare mags and two spare 50 round boxes of Winchester Ranger .40 and two boxes of .223 Winchester PDX 60 grain JSP loaded into two extra Pmags. If I’m in jail, the 4006 TSW and spare mags get locked in the trunk.

    Off duty I sometimes have a trunk gun or 1/2 dozen guns from a range trip locked in the trunk.

      • I have extra mags. The extra ammo is for extra range practice – buts it’s the expensive JHPs totally good for SHTF. Although I sometimes carry extra FMJs. And extra guns.

  15. The problem here is that it was obviously VISIBLE inside the vehicle. Yes, sometimes I leave firearms in secured locations within a vehicle, but only if they are in the trunk or locked in another cubby, AND only if I’ve not been seen by anyone putting them in there. In other words, if I’m leaving the range, I either go straight home or leave the car/truck parked where I can see it if I stop for gas, eat, etc. No one is going to break in to your car on the CHANCE a gun might be in there. Still, if I EVER stop overnight anywhere, any guns I have with me are going inside. Period.

  16. I only leave a gun in the car when I have to deal with gun free zones and then not in sight.

    So this rifle case was padlocked and chained to a trunk safe? Why not IN a safe in the trunk? What exactly ARE they spending our taxes on?

    I wonder what kind of shape that rifle was in after they yanked it through the window frame.

  17. Awww. Don’t worry, Agent. The taxpayers will buy you a nice, new (10X retail price) one to replace the one that poor, needy, underprivileged person liberated from your vehicle. He needed it more than you did anyway.

    /sarc

  18. Is it me? Why are we reading about this event from the Daily Mail? Why aren’t US outlets covering this?

  19. Thefts from vehicles are so much lower in the US than in Canada, that I will admit I’ve gotten complacent, though not with firearms. In two years in a fairly nice part of Vancouver I had two break-ins into my crappy little hatchback. In 5 years in a “gentrifying” part of Jersey City I had no issues at all with a nice SUV. The US puts criminals in jail, Canada slaps their wrists (at most). When people bitch about the US’ high incarceration rate, remember what it is saving us all in auto insurance premiums.

    I have left firearms in an enclosed trunk while stopping at shops on my way to the range. When I leave the range I always drive straight home, and I do keep an eye out for anyone tailing me. My range is in a semi-industrial area, and it’s the only business there open on a Sunday, so anyone leaving that parking lot came from the range, and if he or she has a heavy bag along, then that person probably wasn’t just renting.

  20. I pretty much never leave a firearm locked in a car. When I am on a trip and staying at a hotel, I take my firearms into my room.

  21. Only very rarely and with much angst. I work as a medical courier and am quite happy to note that many of the no guns allowed signs I used to see at hospitals and such have disappeared. I’ll leave a shitload of schedule 1 drugs my car unattended before I will my gun.

  22. Can’t take em on base and can’t leave em in my truck on base. I just go straight home, try to minimize my after-work stops.

  23. The only time I would leave a gun in a car is if I need to… and if I’m staying in the hotel room nearby, I don’t need to.

  24. I wouldn’t choose to leave a stick of Beemans unattended. So, no, I wouldn’t leave a gun in the car unless it was absolutely unavoidable.

    • But cops regularly have shotguns, rifles, and other arms in their cars. Are they supposed to carry everything with them all the time? No. Locked up is locked up. It is not irresponsible to leave a weapon locked up in a car.

    • +1. Savvy criminals know very well what makes and models the feebs and plainclothed leos drive. A smash and grab crook/tweaker knows what quality gun cases look like, I am sure. Just go in pawn shop where they fence cameras, other valuable items, guns, etc.

      Local cops or Neighborhood watch info sheets warn of this…petty crooks prowl upscale hotel parking lots, like they cruise thru affuent neighborhoods looking for opportunities, like the milf who forgets purse or iphone on seat, dad who forgets expensive gps on dash, wallet in console, in view.

      Tweakers throw a sparkplug against a side window to shatter the safety glass, and sseconds later they are gone.
      Add one step to hook on tow strap to yank something off tiedowns, and its ten more seconds…Stoopid Crime Tricks 101 taught in juvi and county lockup.

      Marriott chain is well run, good security and every one has high value item safe in back office for jewelry, handgun, cash you dont want to leave in your room. Plenty of high quality, good neric low profile secure rolling cases you fly with your bags, and no one blinks twice at, passing thru airport, lobby, especially in conservative Utah, or a recreational area like Park City, nearby. Golf bags, ski gear, expensive skeet guns, etc.

      If I had $2000.00+ in my own money in quality long gun plus scope, comparable to what I’d guess HRT uses, I sure as heck wouldn’t leave it in my non-descript vehicle parked on street in front of my house, much less your obvious standard plainclothes/Fed SUV or sedan with antenna, grill lights, etc. Especially in an expensive locking case, visible in back seat, or in SUV cargo area, secured to floor or not. Thats an obvious red flag.

      No idea what FBI or LEO policy is, and dont care. Just bad headwork, here, imho.

  25. Once they realize it can’t go pew-pew-pew off a single trigger pull, they’ll get $100 for it at the next “buy back”.

  26. I leave various hardware locked in the trunk of my car fairly often. Never anything in plain sight. I suppose someone watching me could observe the bags in the trunk and target my car for a break-in or, worse, a holdup when I return to the car.

    Slightly off-topic observation follows:

    — No CCW for me thanks to my Sheriff’s egregious “no cause is good enough to be Good Cause” policies.
    — This actually makes me (and pretty much every other law-abiding gun owner in my county and much of the state) more likely to be the target of armed robbers who want my lawfully owned, unloaded-and-secured-in-a-locked-container firearms.
    — Because I’m not allowed to defend myself with a lawfully concealed weapon (or even have one loaded in the trunk), such a robbery is more likely to be successful, which means criminals could gain possession of multiple high-quality weapons and endanger the public with them.
    — The resulting increased risks both to public safety in general and to me personally (and countless other lawful firearms owners) fail to meet the Sheriff’s lofty standards for “good cause” for issuance of a CCW.

    Result: State laws and county policies preventing lawful self-defense by law-abiding firearms owners arguably decrease the very public safety that they are purported to increase. If I were a criminal looking to get my hands on weapons, I would just follow some law-abiding chump home from the shooting range and ambush him, secure in the knowledge that his firearms are all unloaded and locked up, so my risk of getting shot is very low.

    Sorry for the long post, but it does seem related to the topic of being forced to lock firearms in “secure” containers and have all guns unloaded while transporting or otherwise outside the home, except while hunting or at the range.

  27. Try bringing a rifle into a hotel. Even cased. I was afraid that I would have two fine rifles pilfered in the parking lot on a hunting/target shooting trip so I brought them in with me every night. The second night an attendant hit the silent alarm for security and I was cornered, patted down and cases inspected and despite them being properly secured was told to put them back in my vehicle. I think it was because one of them was a scary M14.

    • “Try bringing a rifle into a hotel. Even cased.”

      Large duffel bag with your laundry or wadded-up newspaper.

      Or buy a golf club bag.

  28. Nope, never leave firearms and other high end valuables in a car when you’re parked at a hotel. It all goes up to the room since the one time my dad’s van was busted into when at a shooting event.

  29. Seems to me the government and its employees have donated more firearms to bad guys than I ever could. Yet andy cuomo is just waiting for me to get a parking ticket or get a prescription for an antacid to revoke my CC permit and send my guns to the smelter’s pots.

  30. Really? you leave a rifle case in the rear car seat of the car secured with a chain and expect nobody to be curious as to what is contains. When there is a will , there is a way. That Very Special Agent should have kept the rifle in the trunk, Like they say, out of sight, out of mind. Just because it was chained, it does not mean, secured. We had a way of dealing with this in the army, when a soldier, misplaced his rifle, we tied a dummy cord to the rifle and secure it to a brick and to the soldier and force him to sleep with it and carry is everywhere for several days. Either that or get a Field grade Article 15 as a minimum. It worked unless the soldier was a complete retard in which case he had no future in the army anyway. It that happened in the field, the whole unit would stay out for days if necessary to find the weapon which did not make any friend for the particular soldier. Should the FBI use dummy bricks with cords for its agents too?

    • I dont know if the army still does it. But nowadays in the Marines its called dummy cording it to you. And ive seen one Marine have everything dummy corded to hiM. Bayo, peq, pvs 14s, rco, and some random stuff from the 50 that he had. Just because he lost pvs 14s. Thats what the fbi guys should do too honestly. It would teach a lesson very quikly.

  31. Amazing how careless people can be when they’re immune to consequences and prosecution. There oughta be a law against that.

    Oh wait.

  32. The difference is you paid for your five year old Garmin.
    This FBI officer is a State employee and the $4500.00 GA Precision FBI HRT rifle and $1800.00 scope were paid for with other peoples money.

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