ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Someone allegedly broke in and stole guns from a cop, but not just any cop. This is the only cop left in a department plagued by problems.
The first time Vaughn Police Officer Brian Bernal was in the news was last June when Larry Barker uncovered how the town of Vaughan's police department was staffed by cops – who shouldn't be cops.
The police chief at that time , a convicted felon, had to carry a fake gun because it was illegal for him to carry a real one. That chief's number two was Bernal, who happens to be the only person on the force now.
Fast forward to Friday - Bernal says he was in Albuquerque when someone broke into his apartment. Bernal claims the alleged thieves went right for a closet in the living room and stole guns owned by the town of Vaughn, an AR-15 and a 12-gauge shotgun.
It turns out Officer Bernal won't be an officer much longer either. Bernal pleaded guilty to battery against a household member and the State sent him a letter earlier this month saying he can no longer be a cop.
The State confirmed that Bernal's recent conviction means he can't have weapons either, and you can't be a cop if you can't carry a gun.
KRQE News 13 wanted to talk to Bernal about why the town's guns were in his home, but when reporter Alex Tomlin knocked on the door Bernal didn't come out.
Although it seems like he was trying to send News 13 crews a message.
A truck parked next to the police unit belongs to Bernal. When we were there someone was remotely sounding the alarm and even starting the truck?
Vaughn Mayor Paul Madrid didn't want to talk on camera but while we were chatting with him off camera, someone showed up. That someone was Officer Bernal and he wanted to talk.
Bernal said that under Vaughn PD rules he was allowed to have the guns at his home and that they were locked in a gun safe. He went on to say that thieves must have broken into that safe.
Although State Police say there was no gun safe.
State Police are now working to find those stolen guns, which they say is a top priority.
Mayor Madrid says he will not hire any more officers but if the town council wants to, they can.
If the town is without a police force the Guadalupe Sheriff's Department and State Police will have to cover any problems in Vaughn.
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