(U//FOUO//LES) NGIC Gangs Targeting Law Enforcement for Weapons Theft

NATIONAL GANG INTELLIGENCE CENTER INTELLIGENCE BULLETIN

  • 4 pages
  • For Official Use Only
  • Law Enforcement Sensitive
  • December 21, 2009

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(U//LES) Gang members and criminals nationwide are targeting law enforcement officials, military, government vehicles, and residences in search of weapons, equipment, police badges, body armor, and uniforms.a These incidents suggest that some gangs are becoming more brazen, tactical, and willing to engage law enforcement and rival gang members in potentially lethal encounters. The National Gang Intelligence Center assesses that these thefts could also allow gang members and criminals to impersonate law enforcement officers to gain better access to their targets.

  • (U//LES) According to FBI reporting in September 2009 unknown individuals burglarized the vehicle of an FBI agent in Indianapolis and stole an FBI SWAT uniform, two sets of body armor, and three guns, including a high-powered rifle. Subjects also entered the agent’s garage—likely in search of more weapons—but did not take anything.
  • (U//LES) According to Lee County, Florida Sheriff’s Office officials, in May 2009 a member of the local Blood set burglarized a retired Lee County Sheriff’s Office sergeant’s home and stole, among other things, firearms and a police badge.
  • (U//LES) According to US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reporting, in April 2009 a DHS employee in Washington, DC reported that his agency vehicle was burglarized in Fairfax County, Virginia. Unknown individuals stole a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol, two fully loaded magazines, two concealed weapons permits, and a US Army ballistic vest. Local police advised that several police and government vehicles in the area had been targeted and suggested that gangs could be involved.
  • (U//LES) According to Knoxville, Tennessee police reporting in April 2009, Vice Lord members in Knoxville are reportedly directing their high school-aged members to identify other students who are children of law enforcement officers in an effort to target their residences for weapons, ammunition, and body armor for the gang.4
  • (U//LES) In February 2009 suspected gang members in Broward County and West Palm Beach, Florida burglarized nearly a dozen marked and unmarked law enforcement vehicles stealing firearms, ballistic vests, and police identification. That same month a gang member was arrested in Miami for breaking into a police officer’s home and stealing firearms and police gear. Police suggest that the suspect or his gang may have been involved in the vehicle burglaries.

(U//LES) Law enforcement officials in Miami-Dade County, Florida who report a rise in burglaries of unmarked police vehicles parked at officers’ residences over the past two years have also noted a rise in armed home invasion robberies involving police impersonations, and suggest that the thefts of equipment and home invasions could be related.

(U) The National Gang Intelligence Center assesses that gang members and criminals armed with law enforcement and military style weapons and body armor may be more likely to engage in potentially lethal encounters with police, rival gang members, and civilians.

  • (U//LES) Police in Palm Beach, Broward, and St. Lucie counties in Florida report that between January 2007 and March 2008, Hispanic gang members, including members of the 18th Street gang, burglarized over 60 marked police vehicles and several homes of law enforcement for weapons and ballistic vests. Several gang-related shootings and deaths occurred during this period, and police recovered a number of stolen law enforcement-issued weapons from subjects. The suspects stated to police that they were targeting law enforcement vehicles and residents for weapons and equipment in order to arm themselves for a confrontation with rival gang members.
  • (U//LES) In March 2008 an MP5 machine gun that had been stolen from an FBI vehicle in January 2007 was used in a shooting in northwest Washington, DC. The suspects involved in the theft—members of a local neighborhood drug gang—were allegedly involved in a number of burglaries involving vehicles carrying law enforcement-issued weapons and equipment.

(U) Outlook

  • (U) Gang members targeting law enforcement for weapons and equipment pose a serious threat to law enforcement officers and the community. Thefts of law enforcement weapons from vehicles and residences will likely result in increasingly armed and dangerous gang members. Unauthorized access to law enforcement-issued equipment, badges, and uniforms also create the potential for criminals and gang members to impersonate law enforcement officers and gain access to their targets and weapons, further facilitating criminal activity and violence.

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