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Rifle missing from Grant County sheriff’s office

UPDATED: Thu., May 16, 2013, 11:21 a.m.

EPHRATA, Wash. — The Grant County sheriff’s office says an automatic rifle is missing.

Sheriff Tom Jones says he asked the Washington State Patrol to investigate after an internal investigation failed to determine what happened to the M16.

“I am enormously concerned about this missing rifle,” Jones said. “I am sorry to alarm the public that such a weapon has been lost from our control, and I reassure everyone that we will find the rifle and anybody who is found to be responsible for any malfeasance will be held accountable at the highest level.”

The missing weapon is an M16, .223-caliber, automatic rifle. An earlier news release identified the rifle as an M4.

The rifle turned up missing in an inventory check, a news release from the sheriff’s office said. It was last known to be in a secure firearms room at the Grant County Courthouse in Ephrata.

The sheriff’s office issues the M16 to patrol deputies, the release said.

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