Teen arrested for police car burglary
A Big Pine Key teen is in custody, charged with burglarizing a Sheriff’s Office patrol car and stealing guns, ammunition and tactical gear.
Guns and tactical gear were stolen from inside and from the trunk of the car.
Sgt. Ken Fricke, who is also a member of the agency’s Special Weapons and Tactics Team, said he walked out to his car at 9 a.m. Tuesday and discovered it had been burglarized. His personal handgun – a .40 caliber Glock – was missing from the center console. He said he last saw the handgun on Sunday evening.
Also missing from the vehicle was an automatic rifle – a Colt M4 with a scope – and a second handgun, a .45 caliber Glock pistol. A bag with all of his SWAT gear was also gone, including a bullet resistant vest, helmet, padding and other items. Ammunition for all three guns was also taken from the vehicle.
Detectives and a Crime Scene investigator responded and processed the vehicle for evidence. It is unknown, at this time, how suspects gained access to the vehicle. The neighborhood was canvassed for anyone who may have seen anything. Sgt. Fricke said he did hear his dogs bark between 2 and 2:30 this morning, but did not look outside. The investigation is active and ongoing at this time.
State law prohibits the release of a law enforcement officers home address, so the exact location of the crime is being withheld.
All the guns and equipment were recovered overnight after a witness called in a Crime Stoppers tip, reporting that 17 year old Kalvin Cowger showed her the bag with the stolen items inside. Cowger told her he was going to trade it for drugs. He later told the witness he traded the rifle and bag to a Big Pine Key man for pills.
Detective David Brummer went to the Big Pine man’s house and asked him if he had the stolen items. The man was cooperative and allowed the detective to search his house. Inside, Detective Brummer located the M4 rifle and the SWAT gear bag. The man confirmed he received the items from Cowger, but said he didn’t know the items were stolen.
Another witness came forward Wednesday. He said he saw Cowger on September 24 at about 5 p.m. He said Cowger offered to sell him two handguns. He said he refused to buy the guns. The two handguns have still not been recovered.
Detective Brummer later set up an interview with Cowger, who denied knowing anything about the burglary or the stolen items. Cowger was arrested. He was charged with possession of stolen property and theft. More charges and more arrests may be pending.
Detectives are still investigating. The two handguns – a .40 caliber Glock and a .45 caliber Glock – are still missing. Anyone who knows where the guns are should call the Sheriff’s Office immediately at 305-289-2351.