Dunn, N.C. — Police say an unsecured AR-15 semi-automatic rifle was stolen last week from an unlocked garage at the family home of 2nd District Congresswoman Renee Ellmers in Dunn.
Dunn Police Chief Jimmy Pope said Tuesday that the break-in was reported by Ellmers' husband, Dr. Brent Ellmers, last Wednesday. Their 18-year-old son, Ben, a North Carolina State University freshman, also lives at the home.
The AR-15 was left out in plain sight, next to a gun safe. It was stolen along with a gun case and a GPS unit.
The last time the weapon was seen was on the evening of Oct. 15. The theft likely occurred overnight, Pope said.
Asked if Brent Ellmers explained why the gun wasn’t locked up, Pope said, “I think they’d been out shooting, and it was just one of those things. They probably laid it down and planned to come back and put it away and just forgot about it.”
Pope said the thief also went through at least one of the two cars in the garage, also unlocked, but that nothing else was reported missing.
He said the department is actively investigating the theft.
Ellmers' spokesman Thomas Doheny said the congresswoman was in Washington at the time of the theft. He described her as "extremely upset" by the burglary.
Doheny confirmed the AR-15 belongs to Ellmers' son, who tweeted, "I'm now a proud ar15 owner" on June 11th.
Asked why the weapon was left unsecured, Doheny said, "The congresswoman would very much like to know the answer to that question, too."