7 Weapons Stolen From FBI Vehicle

SUV Randomly Broken Into Near Agent's Home; Reward Offered

Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 19, 2007; Page B03

Seven weapons, including two submachine guns, were stolen last weekend from an FBI agent's vehicle in Southwest Washington, the agency said yesterday.

Also taken were ammunition, a police radio, bullet-resistant vests, body armor and photography equipment, the FBI said.

The theft triggered an intensive search for the property and whoever took it. The FBI decided yesterday to seek the public's help by offering a $25,000 reward.

"We understand the seriousness of those weapons in the hands of untrained individuals," said Joseph Persichini Jr., head of the FBI's Washington field office. "We have employed significant resources and have been working on this since Saturday. We are doing everything possible to identify those responsible and recover the property."

The FBI vehicle belongs to a 35-year-old member of a special response team who was authorized to take it home. It was one of about 20 vehicles randomly vandalized in the 800 to 1100 blocks of Water Street between midnight Friday and 3 a.m. Saturday, according to D.C. police and the FBI.

A second bureau-issued car belonging to an agent at the FBI's headquarters also was vandalized, but nothing of importance was taken, authorities said. Both FBI agents live in the area and were issued vehicles to take home because of their assignments.

Persichini said one of the agents stored equipment in his vehicle, an SUV, because he has to be in a "ready position 24-7" as part of a special response team. He said that the vehicle had an alarm and that the equipment was kept in security containers that were broken into.

FBI officials will investigate to determine whether policies or procedures were violated, Persichini said, a step he described as routine.

FBI investigators are working with D.C. police; the U.S. Park Police; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the U.S. Marshals Service. As part of the inquiry, a security camera was being reviewed, Persichini said.

"We're making some progress," he said.

D.C. police, who were investigating the break-ins and other vandalism, notified the FBI about the theft about 6 a.m. Saturday, authorities said.

According to a police report, someone entered the agent's 2004 Chevy TrailBlazer after punching in the lock on the driver's door. The vehicle was parked in the marina parking lot in the 1000 block of Water Street.

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