A Baltimore City police officer's gun was among the items stolen Thursday night and Friday morning from about a dozen vehicles parked at homes near Route 30 in northeastern Carroll County, Maryland State Police at Westminster said.
Although residents recalled hearing dogs barking about midnight Thursday, the thefts weren't discovered until Friday morning, when a neighbor found an ammunition magazine lying in the 4700 block of Warner Road and called police, said Lt. Terry L. Katz, the Westminster barrack commander.
Hours earlier, at 4:30 a.m. Friday, the police had received a report of gunfire in the 5100 block of S. Church St. in Lineboro, he said. Saturday morning, investigators there found a 9 mm shell casing similar to city police-issued ammunition.
Officer Stephen John Sistek, 33, reported an $818 theft of a gun belt from a locked 2000 Chevrolet pickup truck in his driveway in the 4700 block of Warner Drive in Manchester. In the belt with his 9 mm semiautomatic Glock service weapon were a pair of handcuffs, a multipurpose tool and three magazines of ammunition.
Sistek, who is stationed at the city's Eastern District on Edison Highway, declined to comment on the theft.
Sgt. Scott Rowe, a city police spokesman, said, "Officers are ultimately responsible for securing the weapon that is issued to them" under departmental rules and regulations, but no policy exists about such thefts.
"I am sure he feels terrible," said Katz. "He's a crime victim and also a police officer, and his weapon's stolen.
"This was one of 12 thefts from automobiles in that time period, with the same MO," he said. All of the owners but Sistek said their vehicles were left unlocked, but the crime lab found no sign of forced entry on his truck.
"The property taken ranged from CDs to wallets to credit cards, briefcases and cassettes - things people typically keep in their cars," said Katz. The thefts occurred on Warner Road, Back Woods Road, Wentz Road, Rupp Road, Rarjem Drive and Mount Ventus Road No. 2
"When a car is in your driveway, it does not mean somebody will not come into your driveway and take something, even though we're in Carroll County, where these things don't happen that often," he said. "That's kind of how the officer's gun gets into the mix."