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POMPANO BEACH, Fla. -- Using a large vacuum tube and metal sifters, a local plumbing company spent the weekend helping a team of divers comb a canal in hopes of finding the gun used to kill a Broward Sheriff's deputy last summer.
Workers from Bob Smith Plumbing volunteered to dredge tons of muck lining the bottom of a canal just east of the Interstate 95. The Sheriff's Office has been scouring this spot off Atlantic Boulevard since December, hoping to find the gun used to shoot Sgt. Chris Reyka.
Reyka had been checking on possible stolen vehicles when he was shot five times in a Walgreens parking lot on Aug. 10.
The divers have found dozens of tires, animal bones and even three other weapons, but not the gun.
"The divers are saying it's like looking for a needle in a haystack down there," said sheriff's spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright.
Besides the murky, brown water, the divers have had to wade through 7 feet of silt and debris in their search.
That's why the city of Pompano Beach contacted Bob Smith, owner of the 80-year-old plumbing company.
"We specialize in this kind of work, so I didn't hesitate to volunteer our services," Smith said. "Helping these guys has been a privilege."
The company usually charges between $5,000 to $7,000 a day for such a large dredging job.
The team surveyed the site on Friday and began churning out mounds of muck through a plastic vacuum tube on Saturday. Men with rakes combed through the silt and machines plopped the debris onto a large metal sifter. Nothing was found by the time the search ended Monday afternoon.
Authorities ask anyone with information about Reyka's death to call Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS (8477). Crimes Stoppers is offering a $267,000 reward with information that leads to an arrest.
Joel Marino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 954-356-4552.
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