Loaded beanbag shotgun missing from sheriff's patrol car; search underway

Loaded bean bag shotgun missing from Los Angeles County sheriff's patrol car trunk; search underway

A loaded beanbag shotgun that’s capable of holding live shotgun rounds was reported missing Saturday from the trunk of a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department patrol car, and officials are calling on the public to help locate the potentially deadly weapon.

The shotgun was put in the trunk of a patrol car driven by two deputies at the Lost Hills sheriff’s station in Calabasas early Saturday, according to a release from the department.

After driving more than 32 miles from Calabasas to the Sunset Boulevard exit of the 101 Freeway in Hollywood, the deputies -- whose names were not released -- were informed by a bystander that the car’s trunk was open about 2 to 3 inches.

The only item missing: The beanbag shotgun stored inside a black canvas carrying case.

"It was inside the trunk," said Deputy Crystal Hernandez, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Department. "There's a lot of equipment stored inside there."

To find the missing gun, searchers retraced the deputies’ route: entering the 101 Freeway in Calabasas, turning south on the 405 Freeway, exiting at the Skirball Cultural Center before returning to the northbound 405 Freeway, turning on the southbound 101 Freeway and exiting off the 101 Freeway at Sunset Boulevard.

The California Highway Patrol and the Los Angeles Police Department, along with a sheriff’s search and rescue team and a helicopter crew, assisted in the ultimately unsuccessful search.

Investigators are continuing to look into how the gun went missing, specifically whether the trunk latch was broken or if the trunk lid became loose during the 32-mile drive.

The shotgun has a chrome barrel and a yellow stock, and it’s imprinted with “Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.” On white tape affixed to the gun is written “LHS 03” in black ink.

Investigators are asking anyone with information about the incident to contact the Lost Hills Sheriff's Station at (818) 878-1808.

For breaking news in California, follow @MattHjourno. He can be reached at matt.hamilton@latimes.com.

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