Alarm was raised after an AR15 belonging to a Florida Highway Patrolman was found on the side of the road in a Panama City Beach neighborhood.
According to WJHG, PCB resident Dorothy Collins was walking her dogs when she found an AR15 lying on the side of a local street.
“I just happened to look down and it was right off of the street,” Collins said. “I picked it up and I thought it was really heavy.”
Collins took the rifle home and showed it to her husband, who properly cleared the weapon before calling the Bay County Sheriff’s office.
“They were shocked when they came in the door,” she said. “They just thought it was a little handgun.”
The rifle was eventually traced back to Highway Patrolman Lucas Tavares, who had accidentally misplaced the rifle at the site the night prior while investigating a hit-and-run.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Tavares “Was removing equipment from his trunk, to include an issued patrol rifle that was placed in an unzipped rifle case, in order to get to the equipment on the bottom of the trunk. While the equipment was placed on the ground the patrol rifle slid from its case into the grass/water below his trunk. The Trooper did not realize the rifle slid out of the case due to the fact it was dark and in a poorly lighted area.”
The Florida Highway Patrol announced that “FHP Supervisory Staff discussed the incident.. and stressed the dangers associated with misplacing the rifle. He was issued a documented letter of counseling.”
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