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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Lake County Illinois Sheriff's Sergeant dumped a bag containing a loaded AR-15 in the middle of the road

It was safely recovered by an honest citizen.

EDIT:  The Tribune has placed the article behind its PayWall.  It was not there earlier.  Sorry about that.  As soon as another service picks up the story I will relink.

EDIT:  Now the PayWall is gone.  EDIT:  PayWall is back.

EDIT: It is after 8PM.  Well, lemme see what I can cut and paste from other sites on the web;  Fair Use etc.

EDIT: 9:00PM I changed the url for the Trib article (above) and the PayWall vanished; it probably will return sooner than later.

Below is what I came away with from the Trib and other sites that sourced the Trib:

A Lake County sheriff's sergeant apparently left his assault weapon on the trunk of his car, then drove away without realizing his mistake until the weapon was recovered from the middle of an intersection, officials said Monday.

Lake County officials are investigating the incident, which Undersheriff Ray Rose described as "a very serious matter."

"Law enforcement officers commonly carry the AR-15, which has replaced the shotgun because it is more accurate," Rose said.

"What happened is, he had his car in for service and was switching cars," Rose said. "He put this rifle on the trunk of his personal car and left, not realizing he had left it unsecured, and it fell off."

He added: "If the investigation validates that, it's simply unacceptable."

No one was hurt. McHenry police closed the case after turning the firearm over to Lake County authorities, according to a police report.

The man who found the weapon, Eric Koehler, 38, said he had just picked up his kids from his ex-wife's house in the Lancaster Falls subdivision near Wauconda on Sunday afternoon when he spotted a black bag in the street.

"I own a couple of guns myself so I recognize the case," said Koehler, who, finding the bag heavy, put it in the back of his truck. "I didn't want to freak out my kids. … I thought, when I get home, I'll take a look and see what it is."

Once at home in McHenry, Koehler said he called police after unloading a 20- to 25-round magazine from the .223-caliber weapon, which was identified as government property. McHenry police traced the rifle to the Lake County Sheriff's Office and contacted the department, which sent a deputy to pick it up, according to a police report.

Koehler, whose children are 7 and 11, said that once he reached his apartment, he settled his kids and then went to a closed bedroom to inspect the weapon. After he unloaded it, he called his ex-wife to see if anyone had reported the weapon missing because he knew several police officers live in the neighborhood.

"I didn't want to get anyone in trouble over it, but I wouldn't want to leave it in the road," said Koehler, adding that many children live in that neighborhood.  "I am glad I found it … so nobody can do God-knows-what with it."

Authorities declined to identify the Lake County sheriff's employee assigned to carry the firearm, though Rose confirmed the employee's rank as sergeant. The sergeant had not been placed on leave, Rose said.

The two-page police report — released by McHenry police after the Tribune filed an open records request — was labeled at the top: "Press excluded." 

McHenry police did not respond to requests for further information.

It was not clear how long the weapon remained in the roadway before Koehler came upon it.

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