COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — An AR-15 was stolen late Wednesday or early Thursday from the car of one of Utah's most prominent gun lobbyists.
Clark Aposhian's AR-15 rifle, notable for a thermal-imaging scope that is attached to it, was stolen from a locked car in the driveway, Cottonwood Heights Sgt. Scott Peck said.
Aposhian checked the car about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday night. Thursday morning, a family member noticed the door handle had been "punched" open, Peck said. The car's stereo was also stolen.
Aposhian said the gun was stored in a secure box in the back of his locked vehicle, which is usually kept in the garage. He had parked the Dodge Magnum in his driveway in order to do some spring cleaning.
It would have taken considerable time and effort to penetrate the locked box, he said, maintaining there was nothing negligent or unsafe about how the weapon was stored. The rifle was not loaded and no ammunition was stored with it, he said.
"I continue to handle and store firearms very safely. … Let's work on catching the person who did this," he told the Deseret News.
Firearm theft is a second-degree felony and while guns are frequently stolen, those convicted of taking them rarely face the full charge because of plea deals, Aposhian said.
"When they catch this person, which I certainly hope they will, I'll certainly be watching closely to see what happens."
Peck said it "raises the hair on the back of your neck" to know a criminal is in possession of the high-powered rifle.
"To know that a bona fide thief has this in his hands, what's he going to do with it?" Peck said. "He's probably going to trade it for drugs or sell it, but it will stay on the lay-low. We have the serial number, so it will be tough to get rid of."
The sergeant said he doesn't store weapons in his car, and he encourages the public not to, either.
Anyone with information about the theft is asked to contact Cottonwood Heights police at 801-840-4000.