A gun was stolen from an off-duty police officer Monday night after he left it sitting on top of a towel rack in the bathroom of a Memphis mall.
Lester Hobbs works for the Memphis Police Department, WREG reported, but was working a second job as a security guard at the Dillard’s store at the Oak Court Mall when the incident occurred.
Apparently, Hobbs set his gun down while he used the restroom around 8 p.m., but forgot to retrieve it when he left. Once Hobbs realized he didn’t have his firearm on him, he returned to the bathroom, but the gun was already gone.
The store’s video surveillance system did not capture images of any suspects because it wasn’t working at the time and authorities do not presently have any information to go on in finding the suspect.
Mall patron Eric Gilliam told reporters the officer’s actions were a neglect of duty.
“When you are talking about a gun, yeah. There’s no other way to look at it,” Gilliam said.
“That’s pretty bad,” he added. “We’ve got enough guns on the street as is.”
Another woman, who only wanted to be identified as Carol, said she comes to the mall about once a month with her grandchildren and that her concerns lie in the fact that her grandchildren could have found the firearm.
“I’m worried about my grandchildren more than anything. I hope this officer is reprimanded in some fashion,” she said.
Hannah Pinkston, who lives near the mall, told reporters, “It’s a big deal because someone’s firearm was stolen and we don’t know what happened to it.”
But Gilliam showed a bit of sympathy for the officer, and said, “I believe it was a mistake; everyone makes mistakes.”
Authorities did not say whether Hobbs will face disciplinary actions for the incident or if the gun was his service weapon.