Orange County Sheriff's Deputy Loses Assault Rifle

Orange County Sheriff's officials are looking for an AR-15 assault rifle that went missing Tuesday night after a deputy set the rifle on the trunk of his patrol car and accidentally drove away.

The deputy, who is part of the Aliso Viejo Station, realized he was missing the rifle at around 3:15 a.m. Wednesday morning, according to spokesman Lt. Jeff Hallock. The deputy said that he placed the rifle on the trunk around 7 p.m. as he was getting ready to begin his shift.

After becoming distracted and forgetting to retrieve the semi-automatic rifle from the top of the trunk, the deputy said he drove through the neighborhoods of Aliso Viejo and Laguna Hills, but was unable to pinpoint the location of where the weapon may have been lost.

The Sheriff's Department then began an expansive search for the rifle around the area where the deputy had been patrolling, using reserve officers and bloodhounds in the process.

The black rifle, a model Colt M16, was inside a black nylon rifle bag and included three loaded magazines, according to deputies who say the search is ongoing, and that they are "utilizing all available resources."

The department is also asking anyone who may have seen the rifle, or has any information regarding the rifle, to call them at 714-647-7000.

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