MASON CITY — Mason City police on Monday asked the public's help finding a semiautomatic rifle and 12-gauge shotgun stolen from the back seat of an unmarked police car.

A Colt M16 A1 rifle, Remington 12-gauge shotgun, 28 rounds of .223-caliber ammunition, 17 shotgun shells with 00 buckshot and 12 slugs were taken from a vehicle parked in the 300 block of South Tennessee Avenue between Friday and Monday, according to a Police Department statement.

Officials are asking the public’s help returning the weapons.

“Public safety is our utmost concern and we are asking the public’s help in getting these weapons back into our possession,” according to a police statement.

Officials believe the weapons were taken between Friday and Monday morning.

The Police Department statement, issued Monday, said the officer had placed the items in the back seat while dealing with a maintenance issue in the trunk.

Police Chief Jeff Brinkley, who would not release the name of the officer, said officials believe one of the vehicle’s doors may not have locked due to a malfunction.

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Brinkley said the department will review that possibility and other circumstances of the theft. Currently, the focus is on getting the weapons back.

Officers were searching for the weapons Monday afternoon.

The rifle is a semiautomatic with the serial number 5315092.

“We have replaced the trigger group so that it is semiautomatic,” Brinkley said.

The shotgun is a model 870 with “CID No. 5” on the gun and serial number of D588309M.

Both guns were in a black cloth double-long gun case.

Anyone with information about the case can call Mason City police at 641-421-3636 or Crimestoppers of North Central Iowa at 800-383-0088.

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