Philadelphia Sheriff's Office Loses Track of 185 Guns

City comptroller suggests shoddy record-keeping is a factor
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 21, 2023 2:20 PM CDT
Philadelphia Sheriff's Office Loses Track of 185 Guns
A police car in Philadelphia, in a file photo.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The Philadelphia Sheriff's Office can't account for 185 missing guns. The jarring stat comes from a report released this week by the city controller's office, per the AP. Some of the missing guns were part of the sheriff's office's arsenal and others were confiscated from people subject to protection-from-abuse orders. Acting City Controller Charles Edacheril said his office conducted the review as a follow-up to a 2020 report that found the sheriff's office couldn't account for more than 200 weapons. That report stated that the office had haphazard recordkeeping practices and unclear procedures regarding the handling of guns.

Sheriff Rochelle Bilal, who took office in 2020, said earlier this year that all but 20 of the weapons cited in the 2020 report had since been accounted for—they had been located, disposed of, or sold, the sheriff said. The controller, though, notified the sheriff's office on Wednesday that there wasn't sufficient evidence to account for 76 of its guns and 109 weapons that were surrendered to the office.

For example, 46 guns that were reported as "found" had supposedly been traded or burned. However, the only documentation offered for 36 of them was they were on a list of weapons in a folder labeled "Weapons Burn List" that did not include details such as when or where they were disposed of, the report stated. The controller still considers the 185 guns unaccounted for and recommended that the office report them to police as missing. Bilal planned to address the matter publicly this week.

(Read more Philadelphia stories.)

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