California Police Find AR-15 and 'It' Clown Mask in Car During Traffic Stop

San Leandro Police have made an arrest on multiple drug and weapons violations after a fully loaded rifle and a mask depicting the face of the clown from the It film series was found in a car during a traffic stop.

"This afternoon [Sunday] at about 12:05 pm Officer Lemmon made a traffic stop on E/B 580 at 150th Avenue for traffic violations. A probable cause search of the vehicle yielded a fully loaded AR-15 concealed in a bag in the backseat of the vehicle," San Leandro Police noted in a Twitter thread.

"The AR-15 had a 50 Round Drum Magazine with one bullet in the chamber. We also recovered an "It" Clown Mask and marijuana in the vehicle. The suspect was arrested and transported to jail and booked on multiple drug and weapons violations," police noted in the thread.

"This was a great traffic stop that took an illegal and dangerous weapon off the street. This is another positive outcome in keeping the citizens of San Leandro safe," police added.

The latest arrest comes amid heightened tension and security concerns across the country, including at the California State Capitol in Sacramento, following the siege of the U.S. Capitol and ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday.

Last week California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the deployment of 1,000 California National Guard members in advance of Wednesday's inaugural event.

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Firearm Arrest
This afternoon at about 12:05 pm Officer Lemmon made a traffic stop on E/B 580 at 150th Avenue for traffic violations. A probable cause search of the vehicle yielded a fully loaded AR-15 concealed in a bag in the backseat of the vehicle.

— San Leandro PD (@SanLeandroPD) January 18, 2021

Newsom said in a statement last Thursday: "In light of events in our nation's capital last week, California is taking important steps to protect public safety at the State Capitol, and across the state.

"Our State Operations Center is actively working with federal, state and local law enforcement partners in assessing threats and sharing intelligence and information to ensure those disgraceful actions are not repeated here," he added.

The governor's office noted Thursday: "The Law Enforcement Coordination Center (LEOC) will be activated to its highest level to orchestrate overall law enforcement and physical security needs. The California Highway Patrol and Department of General Services have installed a six-foot chain link fence around the perimeter of the State Capitol to ensure the safety of the Capitol grounds."

Protests held outside the California State Capitol over the weekend remained peaceful, with more than two dozen Sacramento police and California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers as well as several National Guard troops spread out in the surrounding area on Sunday.

Hundreds of others were deployed across downtown and police cars from different agencies, including from San Mateo County, were seen circling the Capitol, while a CHP helicopter hovered overhead, The Sacramento Bee reported.

Last Tuesday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) warned in an internal memo reported by CNN that it has information regarding armed demonstrations planned in all 50 states and further demonstrations planned for Washington, D.C. surrounding Biden's inauguration.

In a briefing to Vice President Mike Pence last Thursday, FBI Director Christopher Wray said: "We're concerned about the potential for violence at multiple protests and rallies planned here in D.C. and at state Capitol buildings around the country in the days to come that could bring armed individuals within close proximity to government buildings and officials."

He noted: "We are seeing an extensive amount of concerning online chatter—that's the best way I would describe it—about a number of events surrounding the inauguration."

The FBI is "monitoring all incoming leads, whether they're calls for armed protest, potential threats that grow out of the January 6 breach of the Capitol, or other kinds of potential threats leading up to inaugural events," Wray added.

"At the FBI, we've set up a national command post at FBI Headquarters as well as a command post in our Washington Field Office," Wray said, adding "we have command posts in all 56 of our field offices" and "those command posts are going to be running 24/7 through the inauguration and, in some cases, in the days to follow."

California Highway Patrol car Sacramento protests 2018
Protesters surrounding a California Highway Patrol car during a demonstration in Sacramento, California on March 22, 2018. San Leandro Police in Alameda County found a fully loaded AR-15 in the backseat of a vehicle during a traffic stop on Sunday. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images