CELINA, Oh. (www.incnow.tv) - A Mercer County man was found and arrested for the break-in and theft of weapons, bullet resistant vests, and various other items of an unmarked Detective vehicle Thursday.
Paul Michael Hiser, 37, last known address in Celina, was arrested by the Mercer County Sheriff's Department for receiving stolen property. The investigation into the theft is ongoing. The firearm was recovered and an arrest was made shortly after 8 P.M. on Thursday. Hiser is being held in a local jail awaiting review of the case by the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office and the filing of formal charges.
Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey reported today that his office is in the process of updating policies on firearms that are stored in office vehicles. The Sheriff's Office does not disclose the types of weapons deputies have at their disposal as it is a risk to deputies for criminals to know what resources are available and what resources are not available.
According to officials, firearms in marked patrol vehicles are kept in the passenger compartment for easy access when needed. They are secured by locked storage racks, making their theft difficult. Unmarked vehicles carry firearms in other locations in an attempt to be as accessible as possible, but without compromising the covert nature of the vehicle. "We believe that the detective's car that was broken into was a random theft from a vehicle and the suspect did not know at the time that it was a detective's car," stated Sheriff Grey.
"We regret that this theft occurred," stated Sheriff Grey, "and we will address the storage of firearms in the vehicles in a policy format in the near future. We own our mistakes, we learn from them, and then we take steps to prevent a reoccurrence. That is about all we can do at this point. No excuses, just striving to be better."
Police say Hiser has a long history of theft offenses his most recent incarceration was in February 2013 for theft and again in March of this year for contempt of court. As the investigation continues, more charges may be filed against Hiser.
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