Police in Washington D.C. reveal that a Secret Service agent had his gun, badge, radio, handcuffs and flash drive were stolen during a broad daylight robbery near the agency’s headquarters. The agent’s belongings were stolen from his personal vehicle while it was parked in downtown Washington. A report filed with DC police detailed how the agent returned to his car and noticed the back rear window of his car had been “unzipped.” The police report identify the stolen items as a black Sig Sauer handgun, APX6000 radio, handcuffs, a USB flash drive, a black Patagonia bag and a Secret Service badge, number 1266. The agent is reported as belonging to the Presidential Protective Division.
The Secret Service declined Tuesday to comment on the incident. But a law enforcement official noted that the USB is encrypted and password protected and argued the theft does not appear to be a threat to the agency. It’s not known what was contained on the stolen flash drive. Others inside the Secret Service expressed surprise that such a crime could take place so close to the law enforcement agency’s headquarters in the middle of the afternoon.
The Secret Service has experienced a rocky several years, including weathering scandals related to agent and officer behavior and security lapses on the White House campus. The theft occurred just weeks after a bipartisan report released by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform concluded President Obama’s Secret Service is an “agency in crisis.
“The situation is getting worse not better,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the Oversight Committee, told the Washington Post Dec. 3. “The president is in jeopardy, and he better personally get involved in fixing this.” A number of former Secret Service agents, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to preserve good relations with the agency, said its troubles began when it was moved from the Treasury Department to the Department of Homeland Security after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
In 2012, several Secret Service agents on a trip to South America were relieved of duty after being accused of hiring prostitutes ahead of President Obama’s meeting with world leaders in Cartagena, Colombia. Last year, a man wielding a knife scaled the White House fence, bolted across the lawn and got inside the building before Secret Service agents stopped him. The Secret Service also failed to conduct background checks on armed private security guards from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta who were near Mr. Obama during his visit there last year. One of the armed guards, who had a criminal history, rode in an elevator with the president.
D.C. police report 159 theft from auto cases in the patrol area that serves the street on which the Secret Service agent parked. That is down from 215 cases at this time in 2014. A spokesman for the Secret Service, Robert Hoback, would only confirm what was in the CNN report but offered no other comment. Officials would not discuss the rules regarding the handling of firearms and other sensitive items.
The report also contains a table of penalties, which a congressional aide confirmed indicates that a loss of a firearm could result in a suspension for as few as three days or as many as 30 days depending on the circumstances. President Obama and his family are currently in Hawaii on their holiday vacation for the rest of the year.