RICHMOND — The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives announced Wednesday a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for stealing an assault-style rifle from a Petersburg police officer’s patrol car.
The reward money is also being offered for any information that helps authorities recover the weapon.
The police-issued firearm was taken between 10:15 p.m. and 11:35 p.m. Feb. 20 from the officer’s car outside his home in the East Walnut Hill area of Petersburg, authorities said. The thief or thieves broke into the vehicle and took the weapon from the trunk.
It was described as a black AR-style rifle with a red-dot sight mounted on the top and an attached pistol grip. The ATF released a photo of a rifle similar in appearance.
Authorities did not say whether the rifle is capable of fully automatic fire or equipped with a loaded magazine.
The ATF is working with Petersburg police in investigating the theft.
“Possessing a stolen firearm is a federal crime and ATF and our partners at the Petersburg Bureau of Police are asking the public for their help,” Ashan M. Benedict, special agent in charge of the ATF’s Washington Field Division, said in a statement. “Firearms obtained through illegal means are a threat to the safety of our communities. We urge anyone with information to come forward and assist investigators with recovering this firearm and finding who did this.”
Petersburg police Chief Kenneth Miller said: “The citizens of Petersburg are and have always been the top priority of our department. We see the community as part of the team when it comes to solving criminal activity, because the information they provide truly can make all the difference. If there is anyone with information about the suspect or the whereabouts of the firearm, please come forward to assist us and ATF.”
Anyone with information can call the ATF at 888-ATF-TIPS (888-283-8477) or send an email to ATFTips@atf.gov. Tipsters can also call Petersburg police at (804) 732-4222.
Tips can also be sent anonymously via the reportit app using ATF Washington Field Division as the location. It is available through the Google Play Store, Apple App Store and at www.reportit.com.