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Sahuarita cop disciplined after losing SWAT rifle on duty

A Sahuarita motorcycle officer has been disciplined after losing a SWAT rifle while on patrol in May. The fully automatic rifle with a 10-inch barrel has not been recovered.

The officer was on a call in Madera Highlands about noon May 25 when a fellow officer noticed the rifle rack on his motorcycle was empty.

The officer retraced his steps but was unable to find the rifle. Around the same time, other Sahuarita officers heard a Pima County Sheriff’s deputy being dispatched to a call about a man removing a rifle from the street near Sahuarita Road and Country Club Drive, according to the reports.

The officer told his supervisors he had just been in that area making a traffic stop, and at that time he said the rifle was mounted on his motorcycle’s rifle rack.

A witness reported a man in a newer model black “dually”-style Dodge pickup had picked up the rifle. The truck was also hauling a trailer with a tractor on it. Officers spent several weeks looking for the vehicle.

Although the truck had a company named on its side, when the company was called, the wife of the owner said her husband was a contractor who hadn’t been associated with the company in years and now drives a red SUV for work.

“(The) investigation included multiple stakeouts to locate the pickup, but it has not been located,” according to documents from the Sahuarita Police Department. “The rifle has been reported as lost or stolen and its whereabouts are still unknown at this time.”

The lock on the rifle rack was in “proper operational order,” but the rack’s bracketing had been “bent/flared out” from its original design, according to records.

The officer received “documented counseling” for losing the rifle, according to a Sept. 6 memo released last week.

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