Gilroy Police Chief Loses Gun, Badge in Vehicle Theft

May 04, 2018

Mercury News
By Jason Green

GILROY — The city’s top cop is facing possible penalties over the theft of his police department-issued service weapon.

On April 27, Chief Scot Smithee left work and drove to Modesto Junior College in his Ford F-250 to attend a family member’s graduation. Worried that he wouldn’t be allowed into the venue with his handgun and badge, he hid both items in the center console of the truck.

That was a violation of California state law and police department policy, which require officers to store firearms inside locked boxes when they are left in a personal vehicle.

Despite being locked and alarmed, the truck was stolen while Smithee attended the college graduation.

Finding out his truck — and everything in it — had been stolen gave Smithee a “sinking feeling.” A work laptop, personal iPad and numerous other belongings were also taken in theft.

Smithee said he immediately called Modesto police.

“Your biggest fear is that somebody winds up using that weapon in some other kind of a crime,” he said.

Police later recovered the truck and even arrested a suspect, identified as 36-year-old Louis Grubeck Jr., but the firearm, badge, laptop and other personal belongings were missing.