The government-issued assault rifle found Thursday in South Redondo Beach was accidentally left on the street by its owner, according to a spokesman from the Redondo Beach Police Department.
The owner, a member of a law-enforcement organization under the Homeland Security umbrella, was not otherwise identified. Prior to interviewing the owner of the weapon, officers thought that the case holding the AR-15 was left in public as the result of a burglary.
"(It) looks like (the case) was inadvertently left by the side of (the owner's) car, and he drove away," said police spokesman Sgt. Shawn Freeman.
The rectangular case containing AR-15 was found Thursday in front of St. James Church on Vincent Street between Broadway and Pacific Coast Highway.
The person who found the rifle exchanged emails with Patch; however, she did not want her name released due to the aggressive response to previous stories on the subjects.
The case was "sitting parallel with one of the white parking space lines," she told Patch. "There was an empty space on one side and a red SUV in the other. There was no one in the SUV and the position of the case made it look like it was left by whatever vehicle left the empty space.
"That's why I had my … son run out and grab it because it looked like a (musical) instrument accidentally left behind by its owner."
Upon opening the case to see who it belonged to, the woman and her son saw the rifle and heard a ticking noise, so they brought it home and flagged down a passing police car.
"The officers on scene taped off most of (the 200 block of Carnelian) to Broadway and across the street, including the bank, until the weapon and ticking device were identified by the bomb squad and disassembled," she said.
The ticking sound was coming from a mechanism removed from a recordable greeting card, officers told her.
The AR-15's owner apparently did not give an explanation for the ticking device when police interviewed him, Freeman said.
He added that it was fortunate the gun was found when it was, and that the finder contacted authorities.
"Luckily, no one was hurt," Freeman said.
The AR-15 has been returned to its owner, ending Redondo Beach police involvement in the incident. Freeman did not know if there would be any consequences for the gun's owner.