Staff doing an inventory of surplus military rifles at the Melbourne Police Department armory earlier this year came up one short: An M16 assault rifle was missing.
According to Local 6 News partner Florida Today, Melbourne police Sgt. Sheridan Shelley said an audit started in December found only 64 of the department's 65 M16s.
The inventory is required annually for agencies that receive excess military equipment from the Department of Defense.
Police searched patrol cars, the department and the area where the rifle was supposed to be stored, but did not find the weapon. They put the gun's serial number into federal databases that might tip them off to its location, but did not find the weapon.
So, they had to file a missing property report with the federal Law Enforcement Support Office.
Shelley did not know if the missing gun was automatic or semi-automatic, saying that some of the weapons received could have been modified.
The police department launched an investigation to find out where the Colt M16 went, how it got there, and if any inventory procedures could be improved to prevent this from happening again.
"A lieutenant will do a full audit of all department firearms, and our inventory system," Shelley said.
Police investigated a tip that an officer had retired and taken the gun, but the police spokesman said "no further information was received." Police did not find the weapon.
A former police officer raised concerns about the missing gun to the Melbourne City Council on Tuesday.
City Manager Mike McNees promised to seek accountability, and told Local 6 News Partner Florida Today he was working with the police chief to investigate what happened and improve the inventory system.