Sheriff’s officials in Orange County on Wednesday were searching for an AR-15 patrol rifle that went missing after a deputy placed it on the trunk of his vehicle and drove away, authorities said.
The deputy, assigned to the Aliso Viejo station, was preparing his equipment before his assigned shift began about 7 p.m. Tuesday, according to a statement from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
The rifle was described by officials as a black, semi-automatic, .223-caliber Colt AR-15 with a 20-inch barrel and serial No. A0091856. It was inside a black case with three loaded magazines when the deputy placed it on the trunk, the news release said, adding that he “became distracted and drove off before securing it inside his vehicle.”
About 3:15 a.m. Wednesday, he realized the weapon was unaccounted for and a search was launched, the Sheriff's Department said.
According to the statement, reservists, bloodhounds and investigators scoured the streets of Aliso Viejo and Laguna Hills where the deputy said he had driven overnight, to no avail.
The rifle was equipped with standard rifle sights but did not have any attachments, such as optics or lights, authorities said.
Anyone with information about the firearm’s location was asked to call the Sheriff’s Department at 714-647-7000. Anonymous tips may be submitted to Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855-847-6227.