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ATF offers $5,000 reward for officer’s stolen automatic rifle, no comment from Wilmington police

This M4 rifle, manufactured by Midwest Industries, is a similar configuration to the M4 stolen from from a WIlmington Police Officer. (Port City Daily photo / COURTESY MIDWEST INDUSTRIES)
This M4 rifle, manufactured by Midwest Industries, is a similar configuration to the M4 stolen from from a WIlmington Police Officer. (Port City Daily photo / COURTESY MIDWEST INDUSTRIES)

WILMINGTON — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of a police-issued, fully-automatic M4 rifle stolen from the car of a undercover officer in the Wilmington Police Department.

The theft occurred in Winnabow, Brunswick County, on Sept. 30, 2017. An unknown suspect broke into the officer’s car, stealing the M4 and related tactical equipment, included a mounted light, infrared laser, a bulletproof vest, and several ammunition magazines for both the M4 and a handgun.

Both the Wilmington Police Department and the ATF are investigating the theft. The Wilmington PD offered a $5,000 reward shortly after the theft, but declined to comment or answer questions about the incident. A local television station released the name of the undercover officer after finding it on Leland Police Department documents, but later redacted the article to remove his name. WPD would not confirm the officer’s name.

WPD announced there would be an investigation into whether or not the equipment – including the M4 – was properly secured, but declined to answer questions about what, exactly, WPD’s protocol for securing such weapons was. The department stated at the time that no other weapons had been stolen in the incident, but declined to answer how many – if any – department weapons had been stolen over the last several years.

According to WPD spokeswoman Jennifer Dandron, “appropriate action” was taken for the officer involved. The WPD would not confirm if the officer was still with the department or not.

The ATF asked anyone with information about the break-in or the stolen weapon to contact, 1-800-ATF-GUNS (800-283-4867), email ATFTips@atf.gov, or contact ATF through its website at www.atf.gov/contact/atf-tips. The ATF offered assurances that all tips will remain anonymous.


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