Morro Bay police officer’s guns stolen

January 3, 2012


A Morro Bay police officer who left two guns in an unlocked vehicle parked in San Luis Obispo discovered early Friday morning someone had stolen the weapons.

Former San Luis Obispo City Councilman and Mothers Tavern owner Paul Brown left an unregistered 38 revolver and a loaded semi-automatic pistol in the center console of his personal car when he went home for the evening. At about 6 a.m., Brown reported the theft to police.

“I left my car unlocked,” Brown said. “I wish I could relive the moment.”

The Department of Justice recommends gun owners store their weapons in a safe and secure place and keep ammunition in a different location to prevent unauthorized use. In this case, the semi-automatic had a bullet in the chamber and the revolver had ammunition stored next to it.

In addition, according to California law, all firearms purchases and transfers must go through the Dealer Record of Sale process. Brown said the revolver was registered to his father, who passed away about two years ago, and he was in the process of getting the revolver registered.

“It wasn’t in my possession, it was in my car,” Brown said. “I had it because we were getting ready to transfer it into my name.”

California Penal Code requires that the person taking possession of a firearm report the transfer to the Department of Justice within 30 days.

A few years ago, Paso Robles Police Chief Lisa Solomon left her loaded semi-automatic gun in an unlocked car parked in front of her home. Atascadero police later confiscated the unregistered gun from a pair of burglary suspects and returned it to Solomon.


The big difference between this case and Lisa Solomon’s case is that when Paul realized his mistake, he immediately took responsibility and notified the SLO police about it and also was willing to talk to the media about it.

Lisa Solomon, on the other hand, never reported that her unregistered gun was stolen and the Atascadero PD never followed proper procedure when they recovered it. Instead they participated in a cover up and gave the gun back to her, no questions asked. When the story broke anyway, Solomon refused to talk to the media about it.


And why do these people still have jobs?


Agreed that Solomon is irresponsible, spineless and without honor.

However, I don’t think Officer Brown should get special brownie points for doing what he should do, especially when it is such a horribly serious issue.

Like the Fast and Furious debacle is teaching us–and will probably continue to school us on it for years in the future–a policing force operation that cannot keep secure control of its firearms ends up giving that firepower to the worst possible criminals, who do the worst possible things with them. The guns are not reported to be MBPD weapons, but Officer Brown IS reported to be a MBPD officer, who should have it together enough to not leave his firearms unsecured.

I have a strong suspicion this was not the first time Officer Brown left his weapons unsecured in his vehicle while he did whatever (really, we only has his word for where the guns were when they were stolen–he owns, or did own, Mother’s Tavern, Christ Almighty they could have been stolen from his car in that parking lot!).

Really, I don’t know what is the fracking deal with our local police and fire folks. It is just one thing after another.


Sounds like a rookie mistake to me. Oh that’s right…he is a rookie. I just hope the police find the guns before someone is injured.


I think it is becoming abundantly clear that MBPD rookies should not be allowed to handle firearms.

If they want to play like the big boys in the Santa Maria PD and shoot each other, that’s one thing. However, when it comes to placing the public at risk because they are incompetent to secure their firearms appropriately, they can just play with water pistols until they advance from the Loser Patrol.


Thank god for people like Karen Velie who report these matters. At least if these weapons are used in the commission of a crime…………the trail won’t be hard to follow. My father had several hand guns and rifles when he passed including one still registered to my brother. When my brother told our stepmother Elizabeth’s Meek’s attorneys in hawaii as well as Grigger Jones and the Honolulu PD we were told they would let Elizabeth know. What good will that do? If they are used to commit a crime at least the Honolulu PD knows about it and has a record. Thanks again Karen for bringing this story to light!


I believe off duty Police Officers can carry and or transport weapons that are fully loaded without the use of lock boxes. Having deadly weapon’s stolen in an unlocked vehicle is a whole different matter and goes to the psychological stability of that Officer.


“psychological stability”? Give it a break, most LE always carry. The fact he forgot to lock the car doesn’t make him psychologically unstable, it makes him preoccupied. Don’t tell me that you never forgot to do something important, like lock your own house, pick up the kid, shut off the oven? It happens, we’re all human.


Cindy, I have owned weapons of all kinds throughout my life and NEVER have I had a Pistol stolen, let alone from an “un-locked” vehicle…! ! !

FYI, STRESS causes a lot of “preoccupied’ forgetfulness.

Just about 4 + or – years ago a M.B. Police Officer quit due to stress and his wife divorced him. He then went to work for a local store at Madonna Shopping Center and had to quit that job


Something’s not right, Cindy. That is such a lethal mistake to make.


Cindy, I must disagree with you here. His mistake has the potential to have lethal impact on many people. He is trained to avoid such “preoccupation”. Leaving two loaded weapons in the center console of a police officer’s vehicle is hardly the same as him leaving his house unlocked, picking up his kids, or shutting off the oven. Then there is his 2 year “preoccupation” and not having the weapons transferred to himself after his father passed. He knows the laws; he knows better.


After reading CCCs older articles about Lisa Solomon losing her gun, and blogger Rferris’ citations to the Penal Code, I’m not buying the Mayor’s explanation. Leaving your car unlocked with loaded guns inside is enough of a stretch, but failing to register one for two years, is another. And have both guns in the car begs for an explanation. Defendants on trial for being “the shooter” during an event where injury occurs, often use as their defense that “their gun had been stolen” prior to the event.

In reference to comments made by another blogger and gun shop owner that a computer search of a gun’s serial number that returned a “no history of registration” on the gun means that the gun might have been purchased before the 1991 registration law, I beg to differ.

I have done no specific research on the registration laws. But what I know from one gun shop owner is that guns were required to be registered as far back as the 1970’s. The 1991 law requires even stricter standards with respect to registration, sale and transfers of weapons.

But what I would like to know is whether these laws also apply to military weapons. I was also told that former military personnel who served during World War II, Korea and Viet Nam were permitted to keep their firearms after their time in the military ended, and that their weapons were “unregistered”. If that is true, then that might be another explanation for Solomon’s gun having no history at all in the gun registration database. Can any bloggers speak to that issue? Thanks.


Good point, oto, about the 2-years lapse in registering the firearm.

Officer Brown doesn’t seem to be very accountable for his firearms.

And, before anybody jumps, I do NOT think this is the first time this mistake happened. This is just too serious of a mistake to make; it makes me think this is a habit of his.


You can’t get hired in Morro Bay at any job, not even a clerk’s job, unless “you” have an inside track…friends in the right places.

Officer Paul Brown’s excuse for having an unregistered weapon stolen is lame. He should be held legally accountable to the law having an unregistered weapon in his possession.


That inside track has kept Morro Bay a 2bit town for years- and it always will until and unless the residents VOTE smart enough to move forward.

There have been better choices a times, but the imbeds seem to be able to scrape by –

with some help from their ‘friends’.


I call BS on Paul’s story…who forgets loaded firearms in their car, and also leaves the car unlocked? Coincidentally, someone opens the unlocked car, “finds” the weapons and decides to take them. Sounds like a “my dog ate my homework” type of story.


I’m totally serious here. What do you think happened then? The only thing I can think of is that he sold the weapons? Loaned them to his teenage son? You know, you raise some very unsettling possibilities.


Well now that he has the getting guns stolen out of car down, he can come over to Paso and join our Chief Lisa Soloman for a table top dance.


My eyes! My eyes!


What a complete idiot that should never have slipped through the cracks of passing a background investigation in the first place. With his history of driving under the influence, domestic violence, and thousands in unpaid parking tickets, what exactly was Morro Bay thinking by giving this moron a badge.

Come on Paul, pop into the blog and tell us what a bitchen cop you are, like when you were bashing the SLO cops over your arbitration lies. It all comes around my friend. “I wish I could relive the moment” Guess what paul, this is life and there are no do overs. You just put two loaded guns into the hands of common street thugs or maybe children who were out stealing from unlocked cars. You have just increased the possibility that one of these guns will be used against another cop or a citizen. Take notice that I did not say used against one of your brothers, because those honest and decent law enforcement professionals do not consider you a brother. You are one who slipped through the cracks, part of an ever increasing plague of people who lack the basic integrity, core values, and common sense, to serve the public. You are one of the few who infect the profession and cause such great harm to all the good honest and hard working law enforcement officers in our County.

“It wasn’t in my possession, it was in my car,” Brown said. Really? You sound like a two bit tweeker who’s only response to the dope in his pocket is, “these are not my pants, I just put them on when you knocked on the door officer, honest”.

I only hope for two things as a result of this example of your lack of common sense. The first is that Morro Bay Police Department will realize the mistake they made and drop kick you while on probation without further harm to the taxpayer. The second and more important thing that I hope for is that the two guns you have put in the hands of criminals will not be used to commit some violent crime against our society or our law enforcement.

Sorry for any tweeker I may have offended by comparing you to Paul Brown


For once I agree with you! And I agree, these actions are worse than a tweaker because they pose and direct and immediate threat to both the rule of law and public safety. And yet he will suffer little or no punishment :(


Like Firefighter Mason


There could be a huge liability issue if these guns are used to injury somebody.