A fully automatic Colt M-16, used by members of the department's tactical squad, was taken from the trunk of an officer's squad car late Saturday night in the 1300 block of Hickory Street, Grand Prairie police said.
Police said they hope to recover the powerful SWAT rifle before someone gets hurt.
"Somebody may use this for an unlawful use, Heaven forbid," Sgt. Alan Patton said.
The officer, assigned to the tactical squad, was alone when he answered a call about a suspicious person in the neighborhood.The four year veteran of the Grand Prairie Police Department told investigators that he left the car to look in a backyard for about six minutes, and when he returned, he noticed the trunk was slightly open.
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The officer told investigators he closed the trunk without looking inside, and later discovered his rifle missing at the end of his shift.
Investigators said they think someone opened the car door, popped the trunk, and reached inside to steal the rifle, worth $1200. They said no magazines are missing, suggesting the rifle was not loaded.
Investigators said it's possible, but not likely, that the weapon "bounced" out of the vehicle when the trunk was open.
Just last week, someone stole two guns from an Everman police officer's pickup.
Grand Prairie Police are offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the rifle's recovery.