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Rifle, shotguns stolen from Sedgwick County sheriff’s vehicles

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, July 3, 2013, at 11:44 a.m.
  • Updated Thursday, July 11, 2013, at 11:55 a.m.

Three men broke into Sedgwick County sheriff’s vehicles and stole a semi-automatic rifle and two shotguns, among other items, the Sheriff’s Office disclosed Wednesday.

The men stole from vehicles in the county fleet maintenance compound at South Seneca and Stillwell.

The thieves entered the compound at 3:45 a.m. June 29, a Saturday. Officials asked that anyone with information about the thefts contact sheriff’s investigators, 316-660-5300, or Crime Stoppers, 316-267-2111.

The theft is prompting a review of procedures, sheriff’s Lt. David Mattingly said Wednesday.

The thieves specifically targeted three sheriff’s vehicles among dozens of vehicles parked in the fenced compound, Mattingly said.

The intruders broke out a window of a marked patrol vehicle and stole a Bushmaster M4 rifle, which is a semi-automatic .223-caliber weapon, and a Remington 870 shotgun. They also broke a window in a transport van and stole a Remington 870 shotgun, a sheriff’s coat and a GPS device. Also, they got into a marked sheriff’s command vehicle and took a laptop computer, fire extinguisher and two flashlights, the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. Mattingly said the computer didn’t contain government data or sensitive information.

He estimated the total loss at $4,000, not including damages.

“We take any theft seriously, but a theft of weapons rises to the highest level of concern,” the statement said.

Although it’s not the first time sheriff’s weapons have been stolen, such thefts are “very rare,” Mattingly said.

The Sheriff’s Office said in its statement that it is “working diligently to recover the weapons stolen” and that it is reviewing procedures for items left in vehicles awaiting service. During the review, all weapons will be removed from such vehicles, the office said.

A deputy patrolling the area discovered the theft.

The vehicle compound has security measures but the recent storm affected some of the measures, the office said. Mattingly declined to elaborate on security or how authorities knew that three men were involved.

Anyone who might have seen someone walking in the area or a vehicle in the vicinity around the time of theft should contact investigators or Crime Stoppers, Mattingly said. The same goes for anyone who might hear of someone trying to sell the stolen items, he said.

Reach Tim Potter at 316-268-6684 or tpotter@wichitaeagle.com.

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