Gun Stolen Over 50 Years Ago Found on Michigan Street

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A lot of gun owners aren't fond of handing over serial numbers for stolen guns to law enforcement. I get that, though I don't agree with it. If nothing else, when someone is caught with the gun, law enforcement knows it was a stolen firearm and not one obtained through some other means.


Still, it's not my call and I'm not judging those who think otherwise.

Especially since a lot of stolen guns don't turn up. They're used and dumped in the river or they're simply held onto by a criminal and never recovered by law enforcement.

Or, I should say, they're just not yet recovered.

I put that caveat in there because, well, sometimes you just have to wait long enough, apparently.

The Sparta Police Department had a recent surprise after a gun that had been reported stolen more than 50 years ago was found.

On March 21, someone stopped by the Sparta Police Department and said they found a gun lying in the middle of 12 Mile Road near State Street.

“Occasionally, guns are dropped from motorcycles and we’ve assisted in trying to find them. This is the first time I’ve had one just turned in that was found in the middle of the road inside Sparta,” Sgt. David Price with the Sparta Police Department said.

The gun that was handed over to police was a .25 caliber pistol.


After running the firearm’s serial number, officers in Sparta realized it had been stolen in 1969. The original owner died in 1981. Video cameras did not catch who dropped or left the gun.

“At this point, we don’t know what this gun did for the last 50-plus years,” Price said.

Now, 50 years is a long time. It could have done pretty much anything during that time. I sincerely doubt it was just sitting there in someone's closet doing nothing--not with how it was a stolen gun and all--but I could be wrong. 


Maybe the thief stole it, then sold it as his own firearm to someone who had no reason to suspect it was hot. That individual then held onto it for years, never really doing much with it, and possibly passing it down to their kids.

Of course, that's a smidge unlikely since Michigan has a handgun registry. I can't find any grandfather clause to that law, so people needed to register their lawfully-held guns. Had the new "owner" tried to do so, it would have flagged that the gun was stolen. While many previously law-abiding gun owners likely refused to register firearms, people who knowingly had stolen guns refused also for just that reason.

So far, it doesn't appear law enforcement has run any ballistics tests on the pistol, so it's unknown if it was used in any particular crimes or not. I don't know if there's any interest in performing such a test. It's also possible the ballistics were submitted but the results just haven't gotten back yet.

Either way, this was a bit of a weird story that we just had to talk about. Stolen for 50 years and then it's just laying the middle of the street?

That doesn't happen every day.

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