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GLENDALE : Gang-Related Crime Down, Police Report

Glendale police Wednesday showed off two tables loaded with weapons, mainly guns, seized from gang members during 1993.

“Each of these guns represent a life that has been saved,” said Sgt. Gary Montecuollo of the Police Department’s gang unit.

But police said the collection of about 50 rifles, shotguns, pistols, knives, nunchakus and other clubs is only a fraction of what may be in the hands of the 3,200 people who belong to about 25 gangs in Glendale.

“There are a lot of guns out there,” Montecuollo said.

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The gang unit works with the Glendale Police Department’s special enforcement detail, which accounts for about 10 officers who have collected the weapons.

The weapons on display included two AK-47 assault rifles and six pellet guns--menacing to look at but less dangerous than the real thing. Also on display were throwing knives, buck knives, switchblades and butterfly knives.

A small baseball bat, lead pipe, screwdriver, and an assortment of homemade blades rounded out the collection.

“Gang members are very creative,” Montecuollo said of the homemade blades, which some had learned how to make in prison.

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Some weapons had been stolen but many were purchased, he said. He told of a 14-year-old gang member caught with a loaded .44-caliber magnum bought the weapon on the street in Los Angeles for $100.

Often, Montecuollo said, police will find only the ammunition in weapons searches.

Thousands of rounds were confiscated this year, but the guns could not found, he said.

Montecuollo held up one circular drum of ammunition that clips onto the AK-47 assault rifle. It contains 69 rounds.

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“That’s a lot more rounds than any officer would carry,” he said of the weapon seized in a traffic stop.

Police did not know if the harvest of gang weapons in 1993 was more or less than in previous years, but said that gang crime in Glendale has been decreasing.

According to Montecuollo, gang-related assaults dropped from 61 in 1992 to 34 in 1993; gang-related robberies from 80 in 1992 to 22 in 1993, and gang-related burglaries from 56 in 1992 to 30 in 1993.

He said there has been one gang-related slaying in the past two years compared with three killings three years ago.

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The most recent gang-related slaying was committed in Los Angeles and the body was dumped in Glendale.

Only about one-third of the 3,200 gang members that Glendale police deal with live in the city, Montecuollo said.


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