NBA Star Has $50,000 Assault Rifle Stolen After Leaving It Inside Unlocked Rolls-Royce

Leaving a Rolls-Royce unlocked is a risky business, as Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside has learned the hard way.

According to 640 AM radio host Andy Slater, on July 5 Whiteside bought an M16 assault rifle, along with a rifle bag and a silencer, for approximately $50,000 from Johnson's Firearms in Miami.

After purchasing the rifle, the 29-year-old drove to the University of Miami for a workout and only discovered the rifle was missing when he returned home the next day. He immediately alerted the police and told detectives he had only been at the gun store before moving to the Watsco Center for practice and eventually returning to his residence in Miami Beach.

Coral Gables police launched an investigation and determined that the gun was not stolen at the University of Miami as Whiteside believed. While he left his $400,000 Rolls-Royce unlocked, surveillance videos examined by the police showed nobody else approached the vehicle while it was parked on campus.

Whiteside eventually provided a telling clue to solve the case, as he told the police he had briefly left the rifle unattended in the unlocked car shortly after purchasing it as he walked back into the gun store.

Police determined the thief had struck in that window and the weapon and ammunition were retrieved in a stolen vehicle in North Miami on July 23, while the silencer was located at a later date.

"I have a license for the gun that was stolen from me over the summer," Whiteside said on Thursday in a statement issued through the Heat.

"I should have secured it better and I'm glad it was recovered. It won't happen again. It is now locked in a safe and I only use it at the gun range."

A team spokesman quoted by the Miami Herald said Whiteside had not violated any team rules.

After playing just 54 regular season games last year, the second-round pick of the 2010 draft has shown encouraging signs of returning to form this season. Whiteside has started 13 of the Heat's 14 games so far and is averaging 13.9 points and 14.8 rebounds per game in 28.2 minutes on the floor.

On Wednesday, he scored 14 points and added 10 rebounds in just over 21 minutes as the Heat won 120-107 in Brooklyn against the Nets to snap a three-game losing streak. The win moved Miami to 6-8 in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, half-a-game behind the Orlando Magic.