In a burglary of a White Plains, New York home, burglars went straight for the gun safe. Police are investigating whether the publication of names and addresses of gun permit holders by the newspaper played any part in the crime.
Around 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, at least two burglars broke into the White Plains home. The owner of the home, a man in his 70s, was not at home at the time.
Newsday reports the burglars gained entrance to the house through a second story window. There was glass in the yard and a ladder leading up to the second floor. It was reported the burglars went straight for the safe that contained legally registered weapons but they abandoned the theft when they could not get the safe open. One person has been taken into custody.
As Digital Journal reported, on Dec. 23, 2012, nine days after the Sandy Hook shooting, The Journal News, based in the lower Hudson Valley, published a map showing the names and addresses of persons who had legal gun permits in Westchester and Rockland Counties. An attempt to include Putnam County was foiled after that county refused to provide the information to the newspaper.
The name and address of the victim of Saturday's break-in was shown on the map as having a gun permit. Although the victim refused comment and police have not released further details, they are investigating to see if the published map had anything to do with the burglary.
Shortly after The Journal News published the map, New York State Senator Greg Ball said he would introduce legislation prohibiting the release of information about gun owners to anyone other than law enforcement agencies and prosecutors. Although there is no conclusive evidence at the moment the house was targeted because of the map, Ball wasted no time in blasting The Journal News —again. Yesterday, the State Senator issued at statement that read, The Journal News has placed the lives of these folks at risk by creating a virtual shopping list for criminals and nut jobs. If the connection is proven, this is further proof that these maps are not only an invasion of privacy but that they present a clear and present danger to law-abiding private citizens. Former convicts have already testified to the usefulness of the asinine Journal News "gun maps" yet the reckless editors are evidently willing to roll the dice, gambling with the lives of innocent local homeowners.
The Affiliated Police Association of Westchester County said the organization will hold The Journal News responsible if anything happens to any of its members. Robert Buckley, the vice president, is quoted in the Rockland Times as saying, The Affiliated Police Association of Westchester County Inc. is putting The Journal News on notice that we will hold [them] accountable for any incident where any of our over 25,000 members are involved with an incident where a criminal or ex-con presents themselves at the residence of one of our members as a result of their names being made public by [their] newspaper.
Today, Ball will introduce Bill S2132 to protect personal information of legal guns owners, who include present and retired law enforcement officers and victims of domestic violence, from being publicly disclosed.
The investigation into the burglary is continuing.