Crime & Justice

Orange County Sheriff's deputy loses AR-15 service weapon after leaving it on trunk, driving away

A 30 round magazine, left, and a 10 round magazine, right, rest below an AR-15 rifle, similar to the weapon lost by an Orange County Sheriff's deputy Tuesday.
A 30 round magazine, left, and a 10 round magazine, right, rest below an AR-15 rifle, similar to the weapon lost by an Orange County Sheriff's deputy Tuesday.
Charles Krupa/AP

An unnamed Orange County Sheriff's deputy lost his AR-15 service weapon Tuesday, according to a press release issued Wednesday. The deputy had set his weapon, inside of its case, on his trunk before getting distracted and driving off without remembering to put it inside the vehicle.

"Numerous resources including reserve deputies, bloodhounds and investigative personnel immediately began a search of the area in and around the station as well as retracing the streets he drove on," according to the release.

The deputy was distracted by a phone call, OC Sheriff Sandra Hutchens said during a Wednesday press conference. The deputy had been preparing his equipment before his shift at about 7 p.m. Tuesday, before realizing it was missing at 3:15 a.m. the next morning. The search began immediately.

The deputy said he drove through streets in Aliso Viejo and Laguna Hills,  according to the release, but could not pinpoint where the rifle was possibly lost.

This comes at the same time as the OC Sheriff's Department continues to search for three inmates who escaped the Department's jail in Santa Ana on Friday.

The Department is asking the public to contact authorities if they have info on the missing weapon or if they locate it. They can call the OC Sheriff's Department at (714) 647-7000 or call anonymously at 855-TIP-OCCS.

The rifle was in a black nylon rifle bag and had three loaded magazine, according to the release. When contacted by KPCC, the OC Sheriff's Department provided no additional information.

Clarification: An earlier version of this post erroneously identified the weapon as an "assault rifle." Orange County police have identified it as a semi-automatic AR-15 carbine with military-style appearance, classified as an assault weapon.