03/24/2006

Equipment stolen from police van, including vests, flash-bangs & ammo

By AMBER ELLIS
The Kansas City Star

Kansas City police are investigating the overnight theft of at least $10,000 in equipment, including several vests, helmets, flash-bang grenades, ammunition and a gas mask.

The items were stolen from a tactical van that was broken into late Sunday or early Monday in the Shoal Creek area, Sgt. Charles Huth said. The suspects broke the drivers side window.

Police did not release the location of the theft because the van, used by the departments tactical unit, was parked at an officers home. The unit had a search planned for Monday morning. It is procedure to pack equipment the night before because it can take hours to load.

There were no suspects Monday night. Because the ballistic vests weigh at least 50 pounds each, it is unlikely that one person could carry it off, Huth said.

In all, the suspects got away with two helmets, five flash-bangs, 12 ammunition magazines, one gas mask, six high-level protection vests and two basic vests. There were no weapons in the van.

Our primary concern is getting the equipment back, Huth said. Were also concerned about who might want it and why.

The flash-bang grenades can be dangerous, the equivalent of a low-grade explosive. The small devices are meant to disorient without causing serious harm. In some cases, the small devices have ignited fires.

There have been instances where it has caused deaths, Huth said. The potential for danger is there.

Earlier this month, Kansas City, Kan., police told the public to be watchful of anyone trying to impersonate officers after several uniforms were stolen from police vehicles.

Anyone with information about this weeks burglary should call the TIPS Hotline at (816) 474-TIPS (474-8477).

Kansas City Star (http://www.kansascity.com/)

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