Nearly 4 years ago, sometime in May of 2017, the Santa Cruz Police Department made the shocking discovery that one of their AR-15 carbines had gone missing from the police armory. According to police Lieutenant Arnold Vasquez, the rifle was last accounted for on February 9th, 2017. Since then an investigation has been underway to discover how and where the missing/stolen weapon had gone but has yet to turn over any conclusive results.Missing Police Carbine Still Unaccounted For nearly 4 Years Later
The stolen police weapon in question was a Colt model AR-15 chambered in .223 according to Lt. Vasquez. The rifle was apparently equipped with some sort of Aimpoint red dot. Even though there is no conclusive evidence that the weapon was stolen, but it has been entered into the police record as a stolen/misappropriated weapon as opposed to lost.
An AR-15 rifle similar to the missing rifle that was confiscated from a convicted felon
I was unable to verify or have any evidence proving that it was stolen, However, it appeared as though it was potentially stolen and likely misappropriated. So that’s how we entered it into our database system. Primarily because we didn’t have any solid evidence that the firearm was stolen. When we initially began the investigation, we entered it into the system as ‘lost’ just to make sure we had it in there in the event that it surfaced, either with another agency or out in the field. And we later modified it to ‘misappropriated,’ which is, I guess, a version of being stolen.
-Lt. Arnold Vasquez, Santa Cruz PD
According to Lt. Vasquez, the weapon was being transported to an off-site location to be used for a special project in which similar department rifles would be affixed to Police motorcycles. It was during the transportation phase that the weapon went missing and remains unaccounted for to this day.
The firearm was being used for a project in which a sergeant was mocking up the ability to have these rifles affixed to a motorcycle. It was taken to an outside vendor to fabricate a locking mechanism,
The rifle either was lost or stolen, from the time it left the police department to the vendor site, back to the police department. And then, if it made it back to the police department. We have not been able to verify for certain if it did and was just not logged back in.
This particular incident is not isolated, however. According to research by the San Jose Mercury, a whopping 944 guns have been lost or stolen by Bay Area law enforcement agencies between 2010 and 2016. As of writing, this particular rifle (serial number was not disclosed), still has yet to be found and could still be in the bay area somewhere. This story has only been recently been made public, even to City Council members, and perhaps now that it is public knowledge more will be done to discover what actually happened to the missing rifle.