Authorities in the Los Angeles city of Compton are offering a reward after 31 police handguns disappeared straight out of a storage vault.
The weapons had been stored in Compton's old City Hall ever since the city's police force was disbanded nearly 20 years ago. Some 200 guns are stored there.
Police noticed the weapons – 23 Beretta .40-caliber handguns and eight Glock .40-caliber pistols – had disappeared during an inventory check.
The investigation is being conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and agents have appealed to the public for help recovering the weapons.
They have offered a reward of $10,000 (£7,050) for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the theft.
The city of Compton voted to disband its own police department in 2000 after councillors admitted they were powerless to stop out-of-control violence on the streets. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has policed the area ever since.
The city became synonymous with drugs and street violence during the rise of the gang rivalry between the Bloods and the Crips in the 1970s. Policing was criticised for being heavy-handed.
The city's place in pop culture was sealed with the release of the influential N.W.A album Straight Outta Compton in 1988. An Oscar-nominated 2015 movie of the same name recounted the story of the rappers' rise.
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The crime rate has decreased in Compton in recent years and thousands of weapons have been taken off the streets through a police "gifts for guns" initiative.
It makes the theft of the 31 guns from the police's own storage facility all the more embarrassing.