Assault rifles issued to Orlando police officers now must be stored at headquarters after two were stolen from patrol cars, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Thieves tried to break into two more patrol cars parked outside officers’ homes to steal the 30-shot rifles — the same kind of gun used in the 2002 Washington, D.C., sniper killings. “When we had so many so quickly, we said we can’t take this risk anymore,” police Chief Mike McCoy said Sunday. “Unfortunately, it makes a statement on how brazen people have become.”
Stealing from police cars has been a growing local trend. The new policy means that off-duty officers will have to stop by the department before responding to emergency call-outs if the rifles are required. Law-enforcement agencies across the U.S. began training officers to use AR-15s for confrontations demanding accuracy beyond 25 yards, considered the outer limit of pistol marksmanship. Car burglaries are a common source of guns on Orlando’s black market. The Sentinel reported in 2002 that 193 of 680 guns reported stolen in Orange County were taken from parked cars.