10:12 PM PDT on Tuesday, July 6, 2010

By PAUL LAROCCO
The Press-Enterprise

In the midst of routine public comments at a recent San Bernardino City Council meeting, Councilman Jason Desjardins made an unusual plea.

“If you happened to have smashed the window out of my van on the corner of Genevieve and 40th, please return my stuff,” he said at the June 21 session. “Give it to the police department. I will waive my desire to prosecute. Just give me my stuff back. You know who you are.”

What he did not mention about that June 19 break-in outside Celebrities Sports Grill was one of the items taken: a loaded FN 5.7mm handgun, the controversial weapon able to fire bullets that can pierce police-issued Kevlar vests.

Jason Desjardins’ businesses deal often in cash. The gun he bought is able to fire bullets that can pierce Kevlar vests.

Desjardins — who legally owned the gun and said he possessed only commercially available, non-Kevlar-piercing ammo — noted he had simply been taking it from his towing businessto his nearby San Bernardino home .

The Chevy van’s back lockbox, which would have legally stored the gun, was broken, the 36-year-old said. So he put it into a duffel bag on the front seat as he went inside the restaurant.

He now worries something he purchased for protection is in the wrong hands.

“Do you think I want a handgun, especially a controversial — albeit legal — one? Absolutely not,” he said. “I’m remorseful. I keep it in my business, but I thought, in transit, the gun would be relatively safe with me.”

The councilman bought the $1,200 weapon in 2006 from Turner’s Outdoorsman in San Bernardino, after reading it was one of the best-made handguns. Since it became sanctioned for public use in 2004, it has been unsuccessfully targeted for a federal ban several times.

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