Authorities Wednesday sought public help to find a Montebello police SUV that was stolen from the department’s parking lot, along with three loaded firearms that were locked inside the vehicle.
Investigators discovered that the SUV was not parked in its designated stall at the police facility about 3 p.m. Tuesday, the Montebello Police Department reported. It was driven by authorized personnel last Thursday at about 5 p.m., and was assigned to be used again on the day that it was discovered missing.
According to police, the vehicle contained an AR-15 police rifle, a police shotgun and a “less-lethal shotgun,” all of which were loaded with ammunition. Police said the weapons were locked and secured in the 2018 Ford Explorer, and said all keys for the vehicle “are accounted for.”
The black-and-white SUV has a white roof and has a California license plate number of 1429238. It is also designated as Unit #9.
The words “Montebello Police” are emblazoned on both sides and the rear of the Explorer. The number 9 is on the roof — along with the letters “MTB” — and on the front fenders and the rear of the SUV, which is equipped with an overhead light bar.
“Upon discovery of the possible missing police vehicle, a teletype was sent to all law enforcement agencies that the vehicle was not accounted for,” according to a police statement. “This was done while investigators contacted local repair shops and other vendors to ensure the vehicle was not being repaired. Investigators were also reviewing surveillance video before reporting the vehicle stolen.”
Investigators determined from the security video that the SUV was driven from the public police department parking lot about 2:25 a.m. on Friday.
“An unknown individual was seen, on video, entering the vehicle and driving away in the vehicle within 10 seconds after entering it,” according to police, who said efforts to locate the SUV are underway, including the use of GPS and “other investigative tools available to law enforcement.”
The vehicle has been entered into the stolen vehicle system, police said.
Anyone with information on the case was urged to call the Montebello Police Department at 323-887-1313. If the Explorer is seen parked or moving, however, tipsters should immediately call 911. Callers wishing to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.