OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - An SUV belonging to a police officer was broken into on Monday in the Black Bear Diner parking lot in Oakland. Oakland Police Department confirmed two handguns were stolen from the vehicle from a Taft Police Department officer who was traveling on business.
KTVU was on scene when evidence crews appeared to take photos of the SUV in question. The rear passenger's window was smashed and the vehicle had a "California Exempt" license plate, meaning it is a government-registered vehicle.
According to a Taft Police Department sergeant, several officers were in the Bay Area to support the City of Berkeley for a 'Free Speech Week' event that was canceled.
The theft occurred at 11:16 a.m. when the officer parked his vehicle in the 400 block of Hegenberger and the car was “broken into,” Oakland police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said in email.
Oakland Police are working to identify suspects responsible and to recover the stolen property. OPD crime technicians stepped around broken black glass from a side window as they dusted for fingerprints on the SUV.
It is unclear how the officer had the weapons stored.
"I think everyone has to be aware of the environment that you're in," said Rodney Franklin of Oakland. "Depending on where we're at, we [need to] be on higher guard."
The Bay Area has been no stranger to vehicle break-ins and law enforcement gun thefts.
There have been several high-profile cases of guns being stolen from law enforcement, some of which led to the deaths of innocent people. The most notable is the death of Kate Steinle, who was killed in 2015 in San Francisco with a gun stolen from a Bureau of Land Management ranger.
A San Francisco sheriff's deputy also had his unlocked gun stolen from a parked rental car last Sunday. They were also fired.
And in August, a gun was stolen from a San Francisco police officer's personal car, which was later used in a gang-related killing. That officer, who was on probation, was fired last week.
Oakland investigators will be reviewing footage from two security cameras at the Black Bear Diner where employees told KTVU that car burglaries outside the restaurant are a common occurrence. One worker said she's even seen thieves with guns breaking into cars.
"I'm kind of nervous," admitted Olivia Long of Oakland, who frequently uses a bank nearby the diner. "So [I'm] in-and-out quick and fast, get it done and over with, get back into the car, especially with my son, I just want to make sure he's safe. But when it comes to officers getting guns stolen, I don't know, I mean, locking up a gun in your car just seems like common sense."
Tara Moriarty and Brooks Jarosz contributed to this report