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| Crime |

Oops! Cop Car with Assault Rifle, Riot Gear, and Taser Stolen and Then Dumped

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This is one story cops don't like to admit.

When Officer Michael Zambrana parked his unmarked dark gray 2004 Dodge Intrepid police car at 11421 S. Dixie Hwy. in Suniland Plaza, he probably didn't expect it would be stolen. Who in their right mind would jack a cop car?

But when he discovered the theft July 27, Officer Zambrana played the average motorist and called police to report it.

The investigation led officers to an empty vehicle that was "left with the engine running adjacent to where Zambrana's car was last seen parked." It turned out to be an unreported stolen Dodge Caravan.

Apparently, the thief had abandoned a stolen minivan and traded it in for Zambrana's Intrepid. (A-ha! A minivan thief is clearly not in his or her right mind.) The cop's car was recovered two days later at NW 11th Avenue and Seventh Street, just across the river from the Dade County Jail and Richard Gerstein Justice Building.

According to the Miami-Dade Police Department, the Intrepid's door and ignition had been tampered with.

Amazingly, all contents of the trunk (9mm Beretta magazine, Smith & Wesson handcuffs with case, $40 cash, a Taser, a Streamlight flashlight, two digital cameras, riot gear including a gas mask and helmet, a Colt LEO 6940 assault rifle with three magazines and a case, and a SunPass transponder) were found untouched. The only thing missing: a gym bag containing used sneakers.

This thief is going down. Double grand theft auto: prison time. Starting two Dodges without the key and beating po-nine all day: quick reflexes. Stealing an unmarked cop car and not taking the get-money starter kit: priceless.

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