Thieves swipe assault rifle from trooper’s car

MILFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – An off-duty state trooper is one of the victims in a string of car break-ins this morning in Milford, and the bad guys made off with the trooper’s assault rifle and bulletproof vest.

For thieves looking to steal things from parked cars, you might think they would stay away from the trooper’s house with his state police cruiser in the driveway, instead crooks in Milford hit 12 different cars, including three cars in the trooper’s driveway. Police started getting 911 calls around 5 a.m.

“Several cars were entered and items were taken,” said PFC Mike DeVito, Public Information Officer of the Milford Police Department. “Most significantly there was a state police, off-duty trooper car they went through and removed an AR-15 from that vehicle.”

Police say that state-issued assault rifle was locked in a gun vault in the trunk, and the car was locked, too, but thieves broke in and found the vault key in a gym bag in the car. They tossed the rifle’s carrying case onto a neighbor’s lawn, with ammo magazines still inside.

State Police say keeping rifles in the trunks is normal procedure. Troopers are investigating whether or not the trooper will face any consequences for leaving the key where it could be found.

“Part of the investigation troopers are gonna look into that. Our professional standards of course will look into that to see that none of our protocols were violated,” said Trooper Kelly Grant.

Milford and state police spent the morning combing the neighborhood for more evidence. The three cars in the trooper’s driveway were all towed away and will be processed by State Police. Another 9 cars are being processed by Milford Police. They towed another car on a different block that police believe the thieves used to get to this quiet neighborhood.

“We recovered a stolen vehicle that was stolen about a week ago in the area, and then the last house they went to, they actually stole a vehicle and that vehicle is still at large,” DeVito said.

In other words, the crooks stole a car a week ago in New Haven, then drove that car to Milford, where they broke into a dozen other cars, stealing a different car and driving away in that. The newly stolen car is a green 2015 Ford Fusion with Vermont license plate number GHK528. If you see it, call 911 right away. Whoever’s inside could be dangerous and armed with that assault rifle.

“We know that there’s a high powered weapon out there and we can all assume it’s in the wrong hands. So, we’re certainly concerned,” said DeVito.

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