An armed security guard had his gun stolen Monday night as he confronted a man accused of shoplifting laundry detergent from a grocery store in Northeast Washington, according to D.C. police.

The Smith & Wesson handgun remained unaccounted for on Tuesday, police said, as did the man who authorities said took the weapon when it fell from the guard’s holster as he tried to detained the man.

Authorities said the incident occurred about 8 p.m. at a Safeway in the 1600 block of Maryland Avenue NE, at the Hechinger Mall shopping center near the H Street corridor.

A police report says the guard — called a Special Police Officer, who has limited arrest powers — confronted a man he suspected of stealing Tide detergent. The report says the man attacked the guard, who fell to the ground, dislodging the weapon. Police said the man being stopped picked up the gun and ran away.

Police using dogs searched for the man and the weapon for several hours but did not find either. The guard works for Blue Line Security Services, based in Landover, Md. Company representatives did not respond to interview requests.