COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

Eli Bremer of Colorado Springs competed in the modern pentathlon during the 2008 Summer Olympics, and is preparing to qualify for the 2012 games in London. However, his bid for the games is threatened not by injury or poor performance, but by the theft of a valuable item.

Bremer said someone broke into his pickup truck on Monday evening while he and his German training partner were running in Monument Valley Park. The thief took an Anschutz air pistol which Bremer said has a value of $5,000, but is valuable only to Bremer.

"It's a one-of-a-kind gun," said Bremer. "It's completely irreplaceable. You can't just buy a new one. It takes about two months to order it from Europe. I can't compere without it."

Bremer said the gun is a necessity for him to attend Olympic qualifying events which begin next month, because a gun is specialized and personalized for its user. He said his only option is to borrow another athlete's gun.

The modern pentathlon involves pistol shooting, fencing, swimming, horse riding and running. Bremer finished 23rd at the 2008 games.

Bremer said the person who burglarized his truck also took an iPhone, wallet and other items. Within an hour after discovering the break-in, Bremer said, his credit cards had been used to charge merchandise at three stores.

Police said they will obtain surveillance video from the three stores and try to identify a suspect. Because the gun is an air pistol, it should pose little danger to people, police said, and will be hard to sell or pawn because it is so unique.

Bremer hopes the gun will be returned soon and not jeopardize his chance at competing in the Olympics, even if it's returned anonymously.

Bremer also is the chairman of the El Paso County Republican Party.