Thief burglarizes animal control truck, steals tranquilizer gun
BATON ROUGE – Smash and grabs seem to be hitting neighborhoods all across Baton Rouge. The crime is pretty common, but what was taken after one Tuesday night is rare. Someone smashed the window of a locked EBR Animal Control and Rescue truck and left with a tranquilizer gun.
"It's destruction of government property, which is a no no,” said EBR Animal Control Director Hilton Cole. “But also, there's the aggravation of garden-variety crime.”
The gun was a 1970’s-style tranquilizer gun that fires off compressed carbon dioxide. Cole says the department does not have a lot of them, and they aren't used often.
“Animals that are an immediate and imminent threat to the public, that’s they only reason we have these air guns,” he said.
One of them is now in the wrong hands.
“Could it knock a human being out? If enough of the projectile substance went into the human, it could and would, yeah,” said Cole.
But Cole says a lot of people wouldn't know how to use the tranquilizer gun.
“This particular air gun was very old, a bit of a dinosaur. If someone looked at it, it would take them a long time to figure out what it was,” said Cole.
The smash and grab happened in an apartment complex near Old Hammond Highway where a supervisor lives. Cole says they take their units home because they're always on call in case there’s a dangerous animal situation in the parish.
The tranquilizer gun wasn't loaded when it was stolen. The frustrating part, Cole says, his department now has to replace a passenger side window, and is out a $400 air gun.
"My staff loves animals. We deal with the public and the animals and when they see this kind of thing happen it's a 'we're on your side' sort of a thing,” said Cole.
A Baton Rouge Police PIO says the animal control truck was the only vehicle in the area that was broken into last night. They don't know what time it happened, but they are investigating.
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