A cache of LAPD submachine guns and handguns was stolen last week from a building used by the department’s SWAT unit, raising fears that the weapons, which police had altered to fire only blanks, could be converted back to lethal use, the Los Angeles Times reports. The weapons, which include 21 MP-5 submachine guns and 12 handguns, were moved Wednesday night to a building downtown and stored in a locked box on the building’s first floor, said Deputy Chief Michael Downing.
Members of the SWAT unit, which specializes in hostage rescues and other high-risk situations. A police officer arriving Thursday morning at the building, where the unit was scheduled to train that day, discovered the weapons missing. The officer also found electrical equipment stacked near a back door, indicating the burglars may still have been working and fled when the officer arrived. The thieves cut through bolt locks on an outside door and two internal doors and forced their way through a metal roll gate. Downing said, “It’s embarrassing.().It’s a lesson learned.”