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Gun seizures on rise in city

Wednesday, January 09, 2002

By Michael A. Fuoco, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Pittsburgh police seized 364 illegal guns in arrests last year, part of a stepped-up effort to get firearms off the streets.

The number of guns recovered in arrests was 95 more than the 269 recovered in 2000, the first year the Police Bureau began keeping such statistics.

Another 254 guns were recovered without arrests, including weapons seized during service of protection-from-abuse orders or found discarded on the streets.

Police Chief Robert W. McNeilly Jr. said the statistics indicate officers have become "more proactive in looking for guns. With the increase in violence we had in the past year we've put an emphasis on trying to find illegal guns and get them off the street and to arrest the people carrying them."

The pace of gun seizures has doubled this year. Through Sunday, Pittsburgh officers had arrested 14 people with illegal guns. Fifteen guns were seized because one of the suspects had two, said Assistant Chief William Mullen of the investigations branch.

Part of the increased vigilance comes from hundreds of the bureau's officers taking part in a seminar in April by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms on telltale signs of those carrying weapons -- including body language and how clothing bulges. Mullen had requested that the ATF put on a local seminar after attending one in Atlanta.

The three officers who led in weapons arrests will get commendations and the next seven will receive letters of recognition, McNeilly said.

The top three officers were Lt. Kevin Kraus of the Hill District station with 20 arrests and detectives Kevin Ghafoor and Terry Holland of the narcotics squad with 18 each.

Six of the other seven top officers are also assigned to the narcotics squad.

They are Brian Daley, 15 arrests, Norm Klahre, 14, Michael Hoffman, 13, James Joyce, 13, Ed Fallert, 12, and Kenneth Kohnfelder, 10, all of narcotics; and Jason Snyder, a K-9 officer from the Hill District station who had 12 arrests.

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