SAN LUIS OBISPO (CBSLA) – Surveillance photos have been released of a man suspected of stealing the San Luis Obispo police chief’s gun after she forgot it in a restaurant bathroom Wednesday.

In a video posted to the department’s Facebook page Wednesday night, Chief Deanna Cantrell admitted that she took off her gun while using the restroom at an El Pollo Loco restaurant early Wednesday afternoon and apologized to the public.

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A man (left) suspected of stealing a gun belonging to San Luis Obispo Police Chief Deanna Cantrell (right) after she forgot it in a restaurant bathroom on July 10, 2019. (San Luis Obispo Police Department)

“Even though my gun was in a holster, it didn’t stay clipped to my pants, so I removed it, and I placed it next to me,” Cantrell said.

She exited the bathroom without the gun, and by the time she realized it was missing a few minutes later, she returned to find it gone.

“I left, and I left my firearm in a restroom,” Cantrell said. ‘Within minutes I realized it, but when I went back it was gone.”

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Police checked security video and determined that three customers entered the restroom between the time Cantrell had used it and then noticed her gun missing.

It’s the man who entered the restroom immediately after Cantrell who investigators suspect stole the weapon because he immediately left without ordering food. Surveillance photos of him have been released. The other two patrons remained in the restaurant and informed police that they did not see a gun in the bathroom.

“The first man, whose photo was released on Facebook, went into the restroom after me and then immediately left the restaurant without ordering any food,” Cantrell said.

As of Thursday, the gun remains missing. Cantrell said that she informed her supervisor, and the gun’s serial number has been entered into a national database. It’s unclear if she will face any punishment from the department for the mistake.

“My actions were irresponsible and dangerous, and I’m so grateful that after our preliminary investigation, a child didn’t find it,” Cantrell said.

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Anyone with information on the suspect should call police at 805-781-7312.