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Thieves steal Volusia Co. officer's badge, guns

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VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - Federal investigators are teaming up with the Volusia County Sheriff's Office after someone broke into a Department of Juvenile Justice officer's home and stole three guns -- and his badge.

Police think the thieves were targeting the officer, whose name has not been released.

The officer's neighbor, Mike Beardsley, said he knows most of the people who stop by, because he keeps a close watch on his neighbors.

"It's kind of scary because there's a lot of empty homes in the neighborhood, and kids can be hanging out here," Beardsley said.

He said unfamiliar people were driving around Hemingway Drive in Deltona on Wednesday -- the same day, deputies said, someone broke into the officer's home and took his guns.

"That's a whole other level, and like I said, I saw some sketchy people in the neighborhood the past few days, and I wanted to find out who they were," Beardsley said.

Officer Brandon Haught with the Volusia County Sheriff's Office said a 9 mm handgun, a .44-caliber Magnum and a shotgun were stolen.

Haught said the officer was likely targeted.

WFTV spoke to the officer off-camera. He said he was only gone for four hours Wednesday afternoon and that his home was not ransacked – the thieves knew what they were after.

Investigators said instead of smashing glass to get inside the home, the thieves simply popped a window out of its frame.

The officer said he may have been staked out by people in a park who noticed his uniform.

Haught said the department takes incidents like this seriously.

"… Regardless of who the victim is, we've got guns out on the streets now, and we are going to work hard to get them back," Haught said.