My money's on the guy on the left (courtesy co.davis.ut.us)

One week ago, TTAG named the Davis County Sheriff’s Office our Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day for losing a M16. (D’oh!) We were particularly captivated by this comment: “Davis County Sheriff Todd Richardson said last week it’s only a matter of time before the rifle is found. And anyone who knowingly possesses the rifle will be prosecuted, even if that person is or was a peace officer.” Well, sltrib.com reports that the Sheriff’s found the missing full-auto firearm. And here’s the tough-talking po-po’s statement on the recovered rifle . . .

Sgt. Susan Poulsen confirmed Wednesday that someone turned in the rifle Friday. She declined to say who or whether the person had a relationship to the sheriff’s office.

Poulsen said the return of the rifle has reopened the investigation into its disappearance.

“Right now, it’s administrative,” Poulsen said of the investigation. “We’re not sure [whether a crime has been committed] until it gets a little bit closer” to completion.

A probe last year pointed to a current or former peace officer taking the rifle . . .

Investigators also couldn’t find the mechanism disabling the missing rifle’s automatic fire capability. The mechanisms were removed from the other M-16s in 2006.

Accountability. It’s a thing. Unless you’re a cop. Then, not so much. At least if you work for the Davis County Sheriff’s Office.

UPDATE! Here’s what happened to the gun, allegedly, via standard.net.

It was a Davis County sheriff’s deputy who had the missing fully automatic M-16 rifle, the sheriff said.

The deputy, whose name has not been released, notified his superior, who then notified Sheriff Todd Richardson last Friday, according to a press release.

The deputy is facing disciplinary action, but what that will entail has not yet been determined, said Sgt. Susan Poulsen on Thursday.

News reports about the missing gun sparked the memory of the deputy, who had been deployed to Afghanistan sometime after 2006. The officer, who was a member of the sheriff’s SWAT team and a member of the military, had asked permission to take the M-16 for training purposes for SWAT before he was deployed.

“The employee trained with the rifle, and then put the gun into his gun safe at home at the time of deployment, where it has stayed since 2006,” according to the press release.

The deputy was gone for 18 months, returned home and then went on a second tour in the Middle East. During that time he had not “thought about that rifle since 2006,” according to the press release.

And because of the lack of paperwork and “partially because of human error, the employee never heard about an investigation into a missing M-16 rifle” until he read news stories that were published last week, according to the press release.

The deputy had been employed with the sheriff’s office during the entire period the gun was missing and the gun was never on the streets, according to the release.

“He simply forgot it was there,” according to the release.

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76 Responses to Utah Sheriffs Missing M-16 Misegos

  1. That’s the sheriff’s SAR unit. They just rescued that lost soldier from the desert after he got seperated from his unit during training.

    And is that k9 trying to hump that guys leg?

    • Meh, I think it’s the truth. All other things being equal, the most believable explanation is where someone did something dumb.

      • Yeah, it totally slipped his mind that he has a piece of gear that would cost the rest of us $15,000-$20,000 to buy IF we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to do so. He wasn’t hoping that they’d forget about it and that he’d be able to keep it for himself, nah. Sounds legit.

        • Yeah. He had one of his cronies boost it, fence it (in Mexico?), and they spilt the loot.

          I’ve seen this one enough times to know what’s going on. Someone should write a short up about this for VICE Magazine. I wish I could afford the subscription rate.

  2. “Sgt” Susan copchicks are still just as funny as soldierchicks. Interesting that 90% of the cop PAO are girls. A cynical might think couldn’t do anything more than look pretty for the media.

  3. This is a phony incident that he had second thoughts about after the fact.

    I remember one Christmas in Taos, the Sheriff had his AR-15 “stolen” from his official vehicle when he had a few days off. You don’t leave your AR-15 in an unlocked vehicle, period. This is the way things are done in Taos. I’m positive he worked this out with a friend to “steal” it, and sell it and split the cash.

    And the county buys him a new one.

    I know SO many stories like this one. A guy advertised a motorcycle for sale; one of the Sheriff’s deputies came to the shed where it was stored, under the pretense of buying it. He didn’t.

    The next morning, the bike was discovered to have been stolen. The bike clearly was taken immediately up into Colorado to be fenced.

    • I just had a thought. We know some firefighters start fires so they can look like a Big Hero.
      This could be the same sort of deal. Cop’s diligent investigatory technique leads to recovery of stolen rifle.

      Praise all around. Raise.

  4. Press release said it was a Davis County Deputy that had it. Looks like he was in Natl Guard and asked to be issued an M-16 to “train” with prior to deployment in 2006. Upon deployment put it in his gun safe and “forgot about it” (apparently hasn’t looked in his gun safe between 2006-7 and 2014), until seeing newspaper articles referring to the missing rifle.

  5. I find it interesting that the rifle was “missing the mechanism that disables the rifle from automatic fire.” That’s about the opposite of what was probably found, since there is no such thing. The M-16 had been stripped of its auto-sear and other compatible fire control parts; probably replaced with some off-the-shelf AR-15 parts. The original auto-sear, sear, disconnector, selector switch, trigger and hammer are wrapped up in an oily rag somewhere in the back of someone’s safe.

    • In a way, there is. This is the best image I could find of it:

      http://www.fototime.com/637CC1EB193302F/standard.jpg

      There is something called a “lock plate” that we used to put on our rifles in the National Guard that would physically prevent the rifle from being switched to full auto (yes, I am this old). Basically you took off the pistol grip, slid the plate on and screwed the pistol grip back on.

      The lock plate had a little aluminum flange that stood up and physically prevented you from putting the rifle on full auto. Back in the old days when we all wore green and carried M16A1’s and everybody’s lies were about Vietnam instead of Iraq we used to practice riot control. A few selected soldiers were “designated marksmen” who got the rifles with the lock plates. Everybody else got sticks.

      The lock plate was just aluminum. You could actually bend it to the side and switch the rifle to auto if you really wanted to. Some of them even broke off as we carried the rifles around during training.

      I was never in a real riot, but I was always told that we would never have any reason to go full auto in an OOTW (Operations Other Than War) environment.

      • Mostly accurate.

        The lockplates were not for designated marksmen. Prior to the SAW, each fire team had one rifleman who was designated as the automatic rifleman. He was issue a clip-on bipod and designated to fire on auto. The other members of the team were instructed to fire aimed shots. At some point at echelons above reality, they decided that lockplates would ensure aimed fire.

        The whole thing was dumped when the M16A2 was fielded.

    • I was wondering what the hell they were talking about. That makes a lot more sense. Thanks for clearing that up.

  6. An investigation like that should probably be handled by someone a little more independent than the office itself.

  7. I’ve told you kids a million times, if you’d put your things away when you’re done with them, you’d be able to find them now! Now help me clean up this mess from all the people that gun killed because you left it lying around.

  8. They pay for soldiers must be pretty spectacular nowadays for them to be able to afford to fill up a gun safe big enough to lose a M16 inside.

  9. Half of your 9 man force needs to spend a little less time at the Krispy Kreme and a little more time on a StarMaster. Eh, Todd?

  10. BULLSHIT. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, forgets they have a full auto gun in their safe at home – I don’t care how many tours you do overseas or on the moon.

    Also, since when can cops just “take home” NFA items at their luxury?

    • Wow, I just looked and realized I had an entire safe worth of weapons that I’d forgotten about. It’s been sitting there in plain sight this entire time but I just kind of forgot about it. I hope I can remember if I have some other safes in the house; who knows what I really have here?

    • “Also, since when can cops just “take home” NFA items at their luxury?”

      Because nobody knows (until something like this occurs), and there is no one to stop them.

  11. Yeah because he deffinately didn’t realize it was in thier sooner, unless he’s a complete moron.

    When did obesity become such a problem in law enforcement. Seriously there are no excuses, zero. I don’t want to here an argument about not working out because of age. If your a cop and out of shape, get off the couch and get moving.

    • When they were issued “take home” patrol cars they lost the ability to walk. Until meal time, that is.

  12. “The employee trained with the rifle, and then put the gun into his gun safe at home at the time of deployment, where it has stayed since 2006,” according to the press release.“He simply forgot it was there,” according to the release.

    Wonder how that excuse will play in CT?

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  15. I find it interesting that the rifle was “missing the mechanism that disables the rifle from automatic fire.” That’s about the opposite of what was probably found, since there is no such thing. The M-16 had been stripped of its auto-sear and other compatible fire control parts; probably replaced with some off-the-shelf AR-15 parts. The original auto-sear, sear, disconnector, selector switch, trigger and hammer are wrapped up in an oily rag somewhere in the back of someone’s safe.

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