SWAT officer gets his Sniper Rifle & Body Armor stolen
(SUN SENTINAL) RIVIERA BEACH – Riviera Beach Police say one of their own high-power sniper’s rifles was stolen Saturday night just moments after one of their own SWAT team officers had loaded it into his personal vehicle for work.
City spokesperson Rose Anne Brown says the unnamed officer, “remembered he had left something, ran back into his house and back out again. By the time he got back downstairs the vehicle was gone.”
He had reportedly locked the vehicle door.
The weapon itself is a .308 bolt-action rifle with a Zeiss scope.
Robert DeSantis, with EZ Pawn in West Palm Beach, describes the gun as a long-distance high-powered sniper’s rifle with a clip of three or four shots.
It’s doubtful says DeSantis, that whoever stole it, will find a lot of use for it on the streets, since it’s used to fire few shots at long distances and requires “a lot of training.”
“I mean you gotta be good to shoot 400, 500 yards. Real good,” he says.
A short time after the theft, police responded to a ‘shots-fired’ call in Riviera Beach and spotted the officer’s stolen SUV.
Police say they chased the vehicle to the corner of Avenue ‘I’ and 3rd street. Witnesses say three men jumped out and took off into the neighborhood on foot.
“Actually, they were just running through the alley,” says neighbor Clifford Kingdom.
Police swarmed the area, he says, arresting one 16-year-old. The two other suspects got away.
“You know it’s probable somebody’s got it and is probably gonna use it for bad stuff,” Kingdom said.
Police are also concerned because the officer’s SWAT uniform, body armor, and helmet were taken. The last thing they need, they say, is a bad guy with their gun – dressed in their uniform – roaming the streets.
“We want residents to feel secure that if they see those markings on clothing it’s a sworn police officer,” said Brown.
The city says it does not appear the officer violated any procedures.
The department is contacting local pawn shops and even putting word on the street that if anyone comes across this weapon – or the equipment – to contact Riviera Beach police at 845-4123 or Crime Stoppers at 1-(800) 458-TIPS.