It was raining when Fresno County Assistant Sheriff Tom Gattie got home from work, so he parked his car in the driveway of his Clovis home, grabbed his briefcase, locked the vehicle and headed inside.
Left in the car were a specialty weapon, as well as a shotgun, a handgun, body armor and ammunition.
Someone then broke into his vehicle and stole the weapons and other gear.
Now Gattie and Clovis police are asking for the public’s help to recover the weapons and other materials.
Clovis police Capt. Tom Roberts said the crime occurred in Old Town Clovis late Dec. 15 and or early Dec. 16. Officials said no witnesses saw the thief, but police have checked the vehicle for fingerprints.
In an interview with The Fresno Bee on Friday, Gattie said he had planned to go to the gun range the morning of Dec. 15, but instead had to go into the office for work. By the time he got home, it was raining heavily.
“I parked in my driveway, not on the street,” Gattie said. “I grabbed my briefcase, and I clicked the (key chain) button (to lock the car). The gun wasn’t just out in the open. It was in the back in a case under a bunch of stuff. They must have searched the car.”
Gattie said his sheriff’s identification card and badge were also in the vehicle, but the thief did not find either item. However, a disassembled specialty weapon and his body armor were in another bag that was taken. The car was not damaged.
Clovis police said the thief also took off with a shotgun, handgun and ammunition.
“Obviously, I am very concerned,” Gattie said. “We will do what we can to retrieve these weapons.”
In a statement released Friday, Sheriff Margaret Mims said: “We can confirm that Assistant Sheriff Tom Gattie was the victim of the theft. Appropriate actions are being taken; however, specifics cannot be discussed due to law enforcement personnel laws.”
State legislation goes into effect Jan. 1 that holds law enforcement officials accountable for leaving unsecured weapons unattended.
Anyone with information about the theft is asked to call Clovis police at 559-324-2800.