An investigation is underway after a gun and badge belonging to a deputy chief for the Fresno Police Department was stolen from her car.
Under California law, she could be facing an infraction.
Fresno Police confirmed that the gun and badge belonging to Deputy Chief Lydia Carrasco were taken when her car was burglarized. It has not been confirmed by the department if her personal or department vehicle was burglarized.
California law says she could be civilly liable. The law was designed to prompt people to lock up their guns, preventing them from being stolen.
“One of the things that we know for a fact is that many of the times when a crime is committed with a weapon, the weapon is going to be something that was stolen,” says legal analyst David Mugridge.
He says says police did not face the same penalties until January of 2017, when SB 869 took effect.
The law states: “A person shall, when leaving a handgun in an unattended vehicle, lock the handgun in the vehicle’s trunk, lock the handgun in a locked container and place the container out of plain view, or lock the handgun in a locked container that is permanently affixed to the vehicle’s interior and not in plain view.”
Mugridge says a law enforcement officer could face civil action if the stolen gun is used in a crime.
He explains, “Even if it’s in a locked car, but if it’s in there and it’s not secured and somebody breaks into that car and steals that weapon and that weapon is used by a criminal in the commission of a crime, there’s some potential liability for that officer.”
It is unknown if Carrasco’s gun was in a locked box, where it was in the vehicle, or how it was secured.
The penalty for failing to secure your handgun in a vehicle is a thousand dollar fine.