Harrison County, IN – A New Albany police officer’s marked patrol car and multiple firearms were stolen from outside his home early Monday morning, according to police.
The officer was getting ready for his shift at approximately 4:30 a.m. on May 9 when he realized his 2021 Dodge Charger patrol vehicle was no longer parked outside his residence on Fairview Church Road, WDRB reported.
The vehicle contained a .308-caliber rifle, an AR-15, an undisclosed amount of ammunition, a tactical vest, and various other police-issued equipment, New Albany Police Chief Todd Bailey told the news outlet.
The officer immediately notified his department about the missing patrol car and a search was launched for the vehicle and the equipment and firearms it contained, according to WHAS.
Indiana Conservation Officer Dennis Talley learned of a location where the stolen cruiser was potentially located, as well as the identity of a possible suspect, and contacted investigators in Harrison County, according to Harrison County Sheriff Nick Smith.
They ultimately located the patrol vehicle abandoned in the 9500-block of Baylor Road in Milltown on Monday afternoon, but the firearms that had been inside the unit were missing, WHAS reported.
Smith said police teamed up with the Southeast Regional SWAT team and tracked the suspect down at a location in Marengo.
“The SWAT team made contact with no incident,” Sheriff Smith told WDRB. “Everyone is safe, we’re very happy to say that. No one got hurt in this exchange.”
Police identified the alleged thief as 27-year-old Aaron Higgins.
“We did locate numerous firearms taken from the cruiser,” Sheriff Smith told WDRB. “Everything’s safe, the car’s been recovered, the weapons have been recovered, and the suspect is in jail.”
Investigators are working to figure out how Higgins was able access and drive off with the marked patrol unit.
“Everything’s still fluid and being processed at this time,” the sheriff said.
The HCSO is handling the ongoing investigation, WDRB reported.
“On behalf of the New Albany Police Department I appreciate the hard work of officers from the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office, Floyd County Sheriff’s Office and Indiana Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officers in promptly recovering our vehicle and stolen property,” Chief Bailey said in a statement released after Higgins’ arrest.
“We will review our internal controls and procedures to ensure the likelihood of this reoccurring is minimized,” the chief added. “Additionally, a thorough internal investigation into the circumstances that led to this occurrence is underway. Public Safety and Public Trust are of the utmost concern to our agency.”