Man steals AR-15 assault rifle from Opa-locka police car in Pembroke Pines

Taser, police vest, ammunition also taken from patrol car

PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. – Pembroke Pines police are searching for a man who stole an AR-15 assault rifle and other items from an unlocked Opa-locka Police Department patrol car early Tuesday.

Video from a neighbor's security camera shows a man walking up to the car around 3:30 a.m. in the Sunswept community of Pembroke Pines. In the video, the man casually opens the car door and climbs inside.

Police said a tactical vest with police markings were taken from the car, and a Taser and ammunition were also taken from the trunk.

"This is a very brazen burglar to have targeted a marked police vehicle," said Capt. Al Xiques, a spokesman for the Pembroke Pines Police Department.

Xiques confirmed that the car was unlocked when the man approached it and the vehicle showed no signs of forced entry. 

Xiques could not say whether trunk was also unlocked.

Opa-locka Police Chief James Dobson said it is proper for officers to keep weapons and ammunition locked in the trunk of patrol cars while they are are off-duty.

Dobson said the department’s patrol car trunks only open with a key, and the officer has the key in his possession. The trunk can not be opened from inside the car, Dobson said.

"He did everything that needed to be done," Dobson said of the officer whose patrol car was stolen from. "He was actually fine with what he did with the weapon."

Dobson said the officer is not under investigation.

"Our main concern right now is to get that weapon off the street and back in hands of the police department," Dobson said.

Xiques said the man took his time, leaving the patrol car three times to carry the stolen items away. He said that police do not believe that the man acted alone.

Officers said they believe this man carried out other vehicle burglaries in the area early Tuesday.

Police described the thief as a black or Hispanic man with a light complexion. Police estimate that he weighs about 160 pounds and is roughly 5 feet 10 inches tall. He has full sleeve tattoo on his right arm, police said.

Police urged anyone who knows the suspect or has information about the theft to contact 911 immediately.