HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A group of thieves made their way across multiple counties in the Tampa Bay area stealing guns and cars in their path.
Two of those guns, including a rifle, were stolen from the unmarked patrol car of a Hillsborough County deputy.
“It’s a very, very serious matter,” said Stuart Kaplan, a former FBI special agent. “Especially with respect to a stolen weapon potentially being used in the commission of the violent crime.”
According to a search warrant, the guns were stolen at the end of July. Then, one week later, a short-barreled AR-15/M4-type rifle was posted on Snapchat.
The document states that the rifle closely resembles a Daniel Defense rifle which was stolen from a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office unmarked agency vehicle on July 28 along with another firearm.
“Any person that is a responsible gun owner should take the necessary precautions to absolutely ensure that they’re safeguarding their weapons,” Kaplan said. “Whether it’s in their home, in their office, and certainly in their car.”
The affidavit lists several additional items that were found inside a house in Pinellas Park, including five handguns, a rifle, ammunition, and a small amount of marijuana.
“There will be an investigation into how that weapon fell into the hands of a bad guy,” said Randy Sutton, a former Lt. with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
The investigation involves Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Sarasota and Manatee counties.