Tempe police are asking for the public's assistance in locating an AR-15 rifle that was stolen from the personal car of a SWAT officer early New Year's Day, and have launched an administrative review into the officer for any potential weapons policy violations.
The officer's car was parked in a lot on Arizona State University's campus and burglarized between 4:45 a.m. and 6:20 a.m. on Sunday, according to information from Tempe police. The officer had just ended his shift and was exercising at ASU during that time and had secured the firearm in his vehicle, according to police.
The department's policy states that it's a violation of procedure for an officer to fail to "properly care for assigned equipment, which results in damage or loss due to neglect or carelessness."
The officer has not been placed on paid administrative leave and police are not commenting as to why the officer had the rifle in his vehicle.
By comparison, federal officers are required to keep issued weapons locked and incapable of firing when the officer is not carrying them.
An AR-15 rifle is a civilian version of the military’s M-16. Most AR-15 rifles are semi-automatic and fire just one round at a time when the trigger is pulled, according to Scott Wesch, owner of the Mesa Gun Shop.
Under most normal conditions, the government restricts ownership of full-automatic weapons, however, some police departments do own full automatic weapons, according to Wesch.
The rifle is black and weighs between six to 8.5 pounds.
Anyone with information about this incident can call the Tempe Police Department at (480) 350-8311 or Silent Witness at (480) 948-6377.
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