'Crazy mess:' Philadelphia sheriff's office missing more than 200 guns

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- With more than 200 guns reportedly missing from the Philadelphia Sheriff's Department, the new sheriff in town is promising change and accountability.

Philadelphia Sheriff Rochelle Bilal said Tuesday there was only one way to describe what she inherited from previous administrations after she was sworn into office this past January, "They left us with a crazy mess as far as the sheriff's office and it's not just the armory."

But the sheriff's armory was at the center of a year-long investigation by City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart after she received information that several weapons stored there were missing.

The findings were nothing short of alarming.

Investigators concluded that the whereabouts of more than 100 service firearms is unknown, along with another 109 personal firearms that were either surrendered to, or seized by, the department.

Officials from the Philadelphia City Controllers office said that while they still have no idea where most of those missing firearms ended up, they are following some truly disturbing leads.

"Our investigation did find evidence of trading at gun shops with city sheriff's office guns," Rhynhart said. "Very, very problematic."

Sheriff Bilal said that as they continue working to get to the bottom of what happened to the more than 200 missing firearms, steps have already been taken to, hopefully, ensure it doesn't happen again.

"The armory is now secure with state-of-the-art security cameras, motion sensors," Bilal said. "There are individually assigned entry codes to track specifically who enters and exits, at any given time, of the armory."

Both Bilal and Rhynhart said the investigation continues to find those firearms and to determine any possible criminal liability.
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