Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office: Follow-Up Review of Missing Guns

Audit Date: September 20, 2023
Audit Categories
  • Investigation

Executive Summary

Why the Controller’s Office Conducted the Investigation

On November 18, 2020, the Office of the City Controller (Controller’s Office) published a report
of its investigation into the allegations of missing weapons at the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office
(Sheriff’s Office). The investigation revealed that 101 service firearms and 109 Protection From
Abuse (PFA) weapons were “unaccounted for,” that is, missing without sufficient documentation
as to their whereabouts.

During the Fiscal Year 2024 budget hearing with City Council, and in media releases on its website,
the Sheriff’s Office stated that all but 20 of the original 101 missing service firearms had been
found. To confirm those statements, the Acting Controller sent a letter to the Sheriff’s Office on
May 23, 2023, requesting information on which weapons were purportedly found.

What the Controller’s Office Found

After a thorough review of the materials provided, the Controller’s Office determined that the
August 2021 follow-up already accounted for 16 weapons of the originally reported missing 101.
The recent response from the Sheriff’s Office only provided sufficient proof for an additional
9 service firearms (three guns physically located; two guns found in the National Crime
Information Center (NCIC) as registered to civilians; and four unlocated guns but placed in NCIC
as missing). Considering those 25 guns now accounted-for with sufficient proof thus brings the
current count down to 76 missing service firearms. These still-missing weapons are as follows:
• 1 shotgun
• 4 semi-automatic handguns
• 71 revolvers/handguns

What the Controller’s Office Recommends

The Controller’s Office has developed a number of recommendations to address the findings noted above. These recommendations can be found in the body of the report.