GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) - An assault rifle stolen from a Michigan State Police trooper's vehicle more than 18 months ago was found inside a Grand Rapids drug house.
The state-issued M-16 automatic rifle was stolen in Aug. 2012 from a trooper's private vehicle parked at the Holiday Inn Express in Grandville. His gun and a badge were taken after a window in the trooper's truck was smashed.
Members of the Kent Area Narcotics Enforcement Team came across the gun while executing a marijuana search warrant on Benson Avenue NE north of Michigan Street.
Police arrested two people, including 33-year-old Todd Jeffrey Simmons, who had been released from prison last March after serving 13 years for home invasion and assault convictions in Kent County.
During the Feb. 14th search, officers seized a black case from the master bedroom containing the M-16 rifle and five loaded ammunition clips. A loaded .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol was found hidden in a basement stairwell.
Simmons told police he bought the rifle about a year ago for $1,000. "Simmons also admitted that he had observed the words 'safe,' 'semi' and 'burst' on the side of the Colt rifle, and that he was aware that it is an automatic weapon capable of firing three-round bursts with a single pull of the trigger,'' federal court records show.
Simmons handled and loaded the rifle on more than one occasion, but denied having ever discharged it, court records show.
Police ran the gun's serial number through the Law Enforcement Information Network and determined it was the property of Michigan State Police. It was stolen sometime late Aug. 20 or early Aug. 21, 2012. The gun is being held by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives until criminal proceedings against Simmons are completed.
During a detention hearing last week, Simmons was ordered held on a $500,000 bond. He will be in federal court March 7 to face charges of being a felon in possession of firearms. If convicted, Simmons faces 10 years in federal prison.