Philadelphia Sheriff Rochelle Bilal
Philadelphia Sheriff Rochelle Bilal. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)
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Oh dear. It can be so difficult to keep track of things like guns, can’t it? It seems that the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office — an operation well-known for its public service and rectitude — has managed to misplace a number of firearms that were entrusted to it. Where they could have gone is, well, a mystery.

Rebecca Rhynhart, Philadelphia’s Controller, just released a report exposing the unaccounted-for firearms.

After receiving a complaint alleging that 15 rifles and shotguns had been missing from the Sheriff’s Office gun inventory since 2016, the Controller’s Office opened an investigation into all firearms under the purview of the Sheriff’s Office.

Once the Controller started turning over rocks, the problems she found were far bigger than just 15 guns.

The investigation found that 101 service firearms and 109 PFA weapons were missing from the Sheriff’s Office inventory. The review also identified other issues with the overall management of the Sheriff’s Office gun inventory. In response to the review, Sheriff Bilal expressed her willingness to improve the management of her office’s gun inventory and to implement recommendations outlined in the report.

PFA weapons? PFA stands for protection from abuse. That’s Pennsylvania’s equivalent of a “red flag” law, where an individual can petition the court to have an abuser’s firearms removed.

So not only have 101 of the Sheriff’s Office’s own service weapons gone walkies, but another 109 confiscated guns — guns belonging directly to taxpayers — have disappeared, too.

But it’s nice that Sheriff Bilal has committed to addressing the problem, isn’t it?

“It’s unacceptable that more than 200 guns that should be in the Sheriff’s Office custody cannot be located,” said Controller Rhynhart. “The public needs to trust that the Sheriff’s Office is a reliable steward of its own property, as well as the personal property given to the Sheriff’s Office for safekeeping. I want to thank Sheriff Bilal and her office for their cooperation during this investigation.  While many of the issues identified pre-date Sheriff Bilal’s administration, I hope that she will take quick action to track down the missing guns, if possible, and ensure proper maintenance of the gun inventory moving forward.”

Shockingly, the Controller’s review found that the Sheriff’s Office has, shall we say, lax systems in place for keeping track of guns that have been entrusted to it. To sum it up, the Sheriff has inadequate or incomplete service weapon records, no inventory management procedures and the armory was a mess with service guns mixed in with confiscated PFA firearms and some weapons stored while loaded.

Newsweek reports that Sheriff Bilal — she’s been on the job since January (the last Sheriff is currently in prison) — blamed the entire problem on her predecessor. But rest assured, she’s all over it now.

“The armory is now secure with state-of-the-art security cameras, motion sensors,” Bilal added. “There are individually assigned entry codes to track specifically who enters and exits, at any given time, of the armory”.

As for finding any of the 210 missing firearms, Philadelphians probably shouldn’t hold their breath.

Sheriff Bilal said her office will continue to work to locate the missing firearms and the investigation will continue to determine any possible criminal liability. …

“Our investigation did find evidence of trading at gun shops with city sheriff’s office guns,” Rhynhart said, adding that the situation was “very, very problematic.”

You don’t say.

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  1. ……“Our investigation did find evidence of trading at gun shops with city sheriff’s office guns,” Rhynhart said, adding that the situation was “very, very problematic.”

    You don’t say…..”

    Exactly. Somebody or somebodies need their sticky fingers hammered and prosecuted for being a gun thief.

    The lowest of the low are gun thieves..

  2. Dare I say it? Apparently Philly officials do not have adequate gun control.

    When I am finally inaugurated, I will hire special prosecutors to find those missing guns, those missing Trump votes, and put everyone responsible behind bars.

  3. Just could not help to check to see if Philly had a “lost or stolen” handgun law. Surprised it wasn’t
    in the article.
    PHILADELPHIA – The City of Philadelphia has filed the first enforcement action of its Lost or Stolen Gun Ordinance, which requires that owners of firearms promptly report missing weapons to the Philadelphia Police Department.
    So who is going to jail in the police department for failing to report their weapons “lost or stolen.?” Where’s the lawsuit….oh they just get a pass. I guess they report to themselves and absolve any responsibility. What a shock…stolen handguns/rifles and election.

    • It’s like most laws. Don’t enforce it on its own.
      Charge someone with 14 counts of this and that and then they will plead guilty to 3 counts of such and such at 3 years out in 2 instead of rolling the dice for 25 to life in court. That way the PD and DA and judge don’t actually have to prove anything

  4. Assuming that the average firearm in the Philadelphia Sheriff’s office possession was a modest $400, those 210 missing firearms are worth a total of $84,000. That is felony theft and someone should be going to prison for a LONG time for that theft.

  5. 210 guns? Pfffft. That sheriff is a rank amateur. The ATF lost track of more than 2000 guns. Now, those guys were total pros.

    • Yeah, I too have a hunch where you might find those guns. Look in the evidence locker. I’m sure that some of them have been used again.

  6. They can’t find them, that’s because the cops steal them. Here’s the deal, EVERYONE lies and EVERYONE steals or has stolen during their lifetime. Cops like free shit also. Hell, they have stolen from me!

    • The Toledo Police took my bicycle right out of my parent’s front yard when I was 10 years old. The neighbors saw it all. My father went down to the Police Station the very next day and they denied it. He stood his ground and they pulled out of storage. They were collecting them for their property auction. Fifty-six years ago, he still talks of it and they lost his trust forever. Mine too.

      • Stealing a kids bicycle is pretty darn low.

        And that wasn’t just an isolated case of one bad cop, there had to be multiple officers involved in order to carry out the scheme.

        And you can bet lumps like that would be all too happy to enforce a red flag order, just to see if you had anything they wanted.

    • I have been robbed by an Officer. $75 pocket knife he confiscated as a weapon, did not return, and wouldn’t you just know it, didn’t turn in when I went to his office to enquire about it the next day. Fucking asshole. His name was Officer Semen, like a bad joke.

    • In the article, the investigator points out that most of this was the responsibility of the previous sheriff. This sheriff has only been in office since January, and has had their term complicated by the Covid pandemic.

      The previous sheriff is in Federal prison doing five years for graft and corruption.

  7. Typical and predictable corruption that occurs when the nation’s most dysfunctional and lawless demographic is in control. The bureaucratic equivalent of looting the local CVS.

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