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Washington (CNN) -- Nearly 180 Department of Homeland Security weapons were lost -- some falling into the hands of criminals -- after officers left them in restrooms, vehicles and other public places, according to an inspector general report.
The officers, with Customs and Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, "did not always sufficiently safeguard their firearms and, as a result, lost a significant number of firearms" between fiscal year 2006 and fiscal year 2008, the report said.
In all, 243 firearms were lost in both agencies during that period, according to the January report from Inspector General Richard Skinner. Of those, 36 were lost because of circumstances beyond officers' control -- for instance, ICE lost a firearm during an assault on an officer. Another 28 were lost even though officers had stored them in lockboxes or safes.
But 74 percent, or 179 guns, were lost "because officers did not properly secure them," the report said.