Rifle, ammo stolen from Calif. cop cars


By Robert Salonga
Contra Costa Times

CONTRA COSTA, Calif. — In what is being described as a brazen theft, at least one burglar broke into a secure California Highway Patrol lot and took a tactical rifle and ammunition from two squad cars, the CHP said.

The burglary occurred between 1:30 a.m. Monday and 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, when the break-in at the lot on Blum Road in Martinez was discovered by a patrol sergeant, said California Highway Patrol Officer Tom Maguire.

The sergeant noticed that a portion of the chain-link fence that surrounds the lot had been cut out, and upon investigating further, found that two cars were forced open. A .223-caliber Colt Sporter Match H-Bar semi-automatic rifle was taken from one of the cars, and ammunition for the rifle was taken from both.

The burglary is being handled by the CHP's investigative services division.

Maguire said the burglar had to be wily and use a great amount of brute force to break the electric lock used to secure the rifle in the vehicle, which was in an area surrounded by the fence, barbed wire, keypad locks, and is well-lighted and supervised all day.

"In 11 years, I don't remember anything like this happening before," Maguire said.

Maguire said the missing weapon resembles a military tactical rifle, and may look suspicious if seen in non-police hands. Anyone with information about the burglary can contact the Contra Costa area field office at 925-646-4980 or the agency's tip line at 800-TELL-CHP (835-5247).

Copyright 2008 Contra Costa Times

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