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Olympic shooting medalist's gun stolen

September 13, 2008|Francisco Vara-Orta | Times Staff Writer

The prized shotgun used by an Olympic champion to win four medals has been stolen from her truck, authorities said.

Riverside County sheriff's detectives are searching for a pair of thieves who broke into Olympic gold medalist Kim Rhode's pickup Thursday.

Rhode was shopping for her wedding at a Lake Elsinore outlet center about 1 p.m. when the theft occurred, said Deputy Herlinda Valenzuela. When Rhode returned to the parking lot about 2:30 p.m., she discovered that one of the truck's windows was shattered and her shotgun, locked in a case, had been taken from the back seat, Valenzuela said.

"There's just no words to describe what the gun means to me," Rhode tearfully told television reporters Thursday night at the crime scene.

Rhode, 29, used the 12-gauge shotgun in each of the previous four Summer Olympics, earning two gold medals, a bronze and a silver while competing in double trap and skeet shooting.

Rhode told KTLA-TV Channel 5 that the thieves did not take anything else from her truck.

"They just went straight for the gun," she said.

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francisco.varaorta@latimes.com

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