An investigation is underway after a police-issued assault rifle was stolen out of a Fort Smith police officer’s personal vehicle at the Courtyard by Marriott Fort Smith Downtown between 10:40 p.m. and 11:53 p.m.
On Friday, August 17, a security guard working by the hotel stated a guest approached him saying there was a man going through the parking lot checking car doors in the 900 block of Rogers Avenue.
The security guard then went outside and saw a white or hispanic man going around to vehicles parked in the hotel parking lot, checking to see if vehicles were unlocked.
The security guard said the suspect was wearing a red jacket, black pants and had dark hair, in a report for the hotel.
“The suspect was opening a truck door in the rear where Fort Smith Police Department (FSPD) park their personal vehicles,” said the security guard in the report.
Then the suspect walked across the lot to a small, late model, white compact car with no tags. The security guard then notified a nearby Fort Smith police officer of the activity.
That officer then called for back up, the report said.
Corporal Tony Rice with the Fort Smith Police Department said when the officer found out about the break-in at the hotel parking lot, the officer went to his vehicle immediately.
When the officer arrived at his personal vehicle, he found his personal 9mm semi-automatic handgun, a police-issued AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and a tactical bag with at least one magazine were missing. The officer’s badge was also stolen out of his vehicle.
KNWA News received a news tip about this incident on Tuesday. We then requested information from Fort Smith Police about the incident. Fort Smith Police would neither confirm nor deny the weapon was stolen. Later in the day Tuesday, KNWA submitted a Freedom of Information Act request asking for information about the incident and other breaking and entering of vehicles in that area.
Fort Smith police have not released the name of the officer involved while he is under review. He is still on active duty for the department.
Fort Smith police are asking for anyone with information to please contact the authorities.