Arroyo Grande police Chief Steve Annibali’s gun, ammunition and badge were stolen from his locked vehicle Sunday night outside his home, prompting a burglary investigation.
Annibali’s .40 caliber Springfield XDM handgun, department ID card and police badge were enclosed in a small black emergency response bag that he had put under the rear passenger seat of his take-home police vehicle, an unmarked Dodge Avenger, Annibali told The Tribune.
City Manager Steve Adams said Tuesday that Annibali violated department policy by parking the vehicle on the street instead of in his driveway.
The theft happened sometime after 11:30 p.m., the last time Annibali said he saw the car, which he said was locked and secured with an alarm.
Annibali said there was ammunition in the bag, but he declined to comment on whether the gun was loaded. He said the gun is owned and registered to the police department and assigned to him as an officer.
He noticed about 7:40 a.m. Monday that the rear passenger-side window had been smashed and the bag was missing. No other items were taken from the vehicle, and it appeared that areas such as the center console and glove compartment were untouched, which Annibali said was unusual.
Annibali said he immediately filed a crime report with the police department and asked that law enforcement agencies statewide be notified of the stolen items.
The department has a policy that states that an officer is to remove any weapons from the vehicle if it is not secure, Annibali said.
He added that he now realizes “that out-of-sight isn’t secure enough.”
The police chief parked his vehicle on the street in front of his house that night because a portion of his driveway was blocked by a load of landscape dirt that had been delivered the previous day, he said.
“I believe the best move on my part (would have been) to park in the driveway in spite of the dirt and remove the bag,” Annibali said.
The gun theft has prompted the city to review police department policies, and the incident was forwarded to Adams for review. Adams said that “appropriate action” would be taken, but he wouldn’t comment further on what type of disciplinary measures might result.
“Chief Annibali immediately brought this issue to my attention and is fully supportive of being treated consistently as any other employee of the department,” Adams said in a statement. Annibali said this was the first time in his 36 years in law enforcement that he’s had police equipment stolen.
Similar incidents have happened to police officers elsewhere in San Luis Obispo County. In late 2011, former San Luis Obispo City Councilman Paul Brown resigned from the Morro Bay Police Department after two guns were stolen from his car parked outside his San Luis Obispo home.
Brown later told The Tribune that he did not know whether his car doors were locked at the time of the theft.
And, in 2008, former Paso Robles police Chief Lisa Solomon's loaded handgun was stolen from the center console of her unlocked, unmarked police vehicle while it was parked at her Paso Robles home.