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LAPD Arrest 5 Suspects for Stealing Weapons from SWAT Training Facilty

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Five suspects have been arrested for their alleged roles in the burglary of a Los Angeles Police Department SWAT training facility. The burglary, which happened earlier this month, resulted in nearly three dozen non-operable weapons getting into the hands of crooks the authorities feared would easily re-convert them into active use.The LAPD says they made use of "significant leads" and served search warrants at several locations Thursday and early Friday morning. The LAPD explains:

The search warrants resulted in the recovery of three weapons stolen during the burglary and the arrest of five suspects in connection with the crime. The suspects arrested include; 29 year-old Richard Velasco and 41 year-old Gilbert Salcedo of Los Angeles for 459 PC, Burglary, 24 year-old Gerardo Vasquez, 28 year-old William Vasquez and 31 year-old Mauricio Hernandez of Los Angeles, for 12280 (b) PC, Possession of an Assault Weapon. The suspects were booked at Metro Jail Section.

The suspects allegedly targeted the downtown facility used by SWAT for training exercises "for the purpose of stealing the electrical wiring within the building," says the LAPD.

The burglary was "embarrassing," LAPD Deputy Chief Michael Downing admitted when the crime was newly-discovered. The weapons, normally stored in a secure facility, had been transported to the unsecured training site the day before SWAT was due to arrive and use them.

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Also potentially embarrassing: Because one weapon uncovered by the LAPD this week was not listed as having been stolen, the Department "is conducting a physical inventory of all weapons assigned to Metropolitan Division, including those converted for training purposes only to ensure all weapons are accounted for."