(Editor’s note: This article was a submission from freelance writer Mike Doran)
The culprits, however, were not the criminals who invaded his residence, but the Los Angeles Police Department.
For two months after the break-in the police continued to hold the nine firearms they seized without a warrant. Their reason for keeping Bilzerian’s firearms: to keep them safe.
Mr. Bilzerian was out of town the morning of Sept. 5, and the burglars, who had disabled the outside security cameras and broken a window to gain entry, tried to open the steel reinforced door to the closet where Bilzerian kept his arsenal. A security alarm was activated and they were able to escape before the police arrived. The intruders failed to gain access to the room.
Once in the house, the police asked Mr. Bilzerian’s assistant and security guard for access to the room. Their request was denied, but that didn’t stop them.
“They broke into our closet and took them after we were burglarized,” said Jeremy Guymon, Mr. Bilzerian’s assistant. “It’s not like we were doing anything wrong.”
The officers confiscated a total of nine firearms, eight pistols and one rifle, claiming to secure them in case the burglars returned. But they left behind a large number of valuable shotguns and high powered carbine rifles.
“The officers told my assistant that they took the handguns because they didn’t want the suspects to come back and get them on a second break-in even though they were unsuccessful at opening the steel reinforced door the first time,” Mr. Bilzerian said.
“Essentially they were ‘trying to protect my property and people’s safety.’ This is hard to grasp, when they left my $21,000 FN SCAR17 with thermal optic and shotguns unsecured in that same room,” he continued.
After a two-month battle to have the firearms returned, Mr. Bilzerian was finally able to pick them up. But there was something missing from them.
“All of my ammunition and the magazines were gone,” Mr. Bilzerian said. “And they couldn’t explain what happened to the magazines, but that ammo couldn’t be released with a firearm and that I’d have to schedule a separate three-hour visit for the ammo. If they are gonna take the guns and make me wait for three hours at the police station, they should at the very least return what came with them.”
California gun law expert Attorney Joseph A. Silvoso III, at the law firm Michel & Associates, says this type of situation is all too common in the Golden State.
“We’ve unfortunately seen law enforcement from different agencies from time to time do that,” he said. “They just say ‘it’s just not safe to hand you back the guns and the ammunition together’ or drum up some other reason not to return the ammunition or magazines.”
Mr. Bilzerian, a staunch defender of the Second Amendment, said his experience with the LAPD has only furthered his dislike of what he calls the “aggressive and unconstitutional anti-gun stance California has taken with its law-abiding citizens.”
When the Washington Times contacted the Los Angeles police spokeswoman Officer Norma Eisenman, she said Wednesday that the department was unable to immediately comment on either the allegations made by Mr. Bilzerian or the LAPD’s protocol for securing stored guns at the scene of a break-in.
Welcome to Kalifornia.