Weapons stolen from Harvey police shooting range
Nearly two dozen weapons, including high-powered assault rifles, were stolen from a shooting range belonging to south suburban Harvey police, prompting a statewide alert this week.
At least 21 weapons, which included handguns, MP5 and AR-15 assault rifles, were reported stolen from a trailer on the semi-wooded property of the shooting range at 153rd Street and Campbell Avenue about 9 a.m. Monday, according to Harvey police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Special Agent Tom Ahern, an ATF spokesman, said his agency was working with the Illinois State Police to determine exactly how the weapons were removed and to trace their histories.
Ahern did not know if the stolen assault weapons were equipped to be fully automatic. He said several weapons were left behind after the theft.
News of the theft prompted state police to issue a statewide "terrorism report," notifying all local municipalities about the missing weapons, according to a Harvey news release.
By Tuesday evening, mere hours after Cook County sheriff's officials agreed to join the probe on the sole condition that their investigation be independent of Harvey police's, sheriff's officials had pulled out of the investigation, claiming that Harvey officials weren't cooperating, a spokesman said.
Sheriff Tom Dart has been critical of Harvey's internal operations and his department was part of a task force that raided Harvey's police station in January 2007, seizing evidence from unsolved crimes. Investigators from state police and the state's attorney's office subsequently filed murder and attempted murder charges using the seized evidence.
Law enforcement sources said the shooting range wasn't a secure facility and isn't equipped for storing weapons.
The Harvey Police Department has been embroiled in controversy regarding weapons in the past.
Last August, Hollis Dorrough, a former Harvey detective, was convicted of taking a handgun from police custody and returning it to the family of the felon arrested for having it, in exchange for cash.
The case, coupled with Harvey's high homicide rate, led to calls for a state police takeover of the crime-ridden suburb, but Mayor Eric Kellogg called instead for a new policy on how weapons were inventoried.