Hickory Mayor Hank Guess said he believes there is no immediate threat to the Hickory community following the theft of a police gun and gear over the weekend.
The mayor responded to questions Tuesday afternoon about Hickory Police Department policy and the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation's efforts to solve at least two Hickory police vehicle break-ins.
A Barnes Precision Machine rifle, a shirt and pants with the Hickory Police Department insignia, a bulletproof vest, a drone, ammunition in the weapon, and hearing protection were stolen from a Hickory police vehicle parked in Caldwell County. Another Hickory patrol car had four AR-15 magazines stolen out of it, according to a previous Hickory Daily Record article.
Guess said he had no information that an immediate threat exists.
“I mean people have, you know, a lot of people have weapons and things and … I don’t think there is an immediate threat,” Guess said.
Guess said he first learned about the stolen equipment from a Hickory Daily Record article.
City Councilman Danny Seaver, the longest serving council member of 21 years, called the situation scary.
"I'm very concerned," he said. "I've never heard of it happening before -- at least not in Hickory."
He added, "They didn't steal that stuff to hang on the wall.”
Seaver said it was odd for thieves to target Hickory police.
He concluded, "We need to take precautions so that it won't happen again."
Capt. Jeff Young of the Hickory Police Department said the department’s policy on equipment storage is for officers to ensure all department-issued equipment is secure in either their vehicles or homes out of reach of children and those who should not have access to the equipment.
Young said he could not say whether or not the stolen equipment was stored properly.
Young also said Hickory Police conducted face-to-face conversations with their officers on Tuesday to remind them of their policy and asked officers to keep their equipment secure.
Hickory Daily Record reached out to all Hickory City Council members to answer questions on the theft.
Councilwoman Jill Patton said she read about the thefts online but was out of town and had no additional information.
Councilman David Zagaroli said he first heard of the incident in the news on Tuesday morning.
Zagaroli declined to comment on the incident saying he wasn’t very knowledgeable on police policies or the investigation.
“I’ve been on vacation, so I don’t know much about it,” Councilwoman Charlotte Williams said. “So I have to say no comment.”
Councilman David Williams also declined comment.
Councilmen Brad Lail was not available to comment as of Tuesday afternoon.
Young asked that the public be aware of their surroundings and to be sure all personal items are in a secure location.
The SBI did not have any further information to share on the investigation as of Tuesday afternoon.
Reporters Jordan Hensley, Kevin Griffin, Emily Willis and Editor Eric Millsaps contributed to this story.