Gordon Miller, of Battle Creek, says he gave up years ago trying to find the gun but a phone call Wednesday changed everything.
“When that police man called me, he said ‘Mr. Miller, did you lose a gun back in 1982?” and I said ‘Yeah I lost four of them,’ he said ‘I got one of them’ and ‘I said you’re kidding.’ I was almost in tears.”
It’s a Colt single action Army revolver made back in the 1890s, Miller says he only had the gun for about seven months before it was stolen from his house along with other antique guns and WWII German daggers.
Miller, who had an extensive gun collection, said he never collected them for the value, but the history. After his other guns were stolen he decided to get rid of the rest.
“I said to the wife, ‘Ya know somebody is going to come in and take them all.’ I felt bad, I wish there were some guns I never sold, I never got rid of,” he said.
But out of all the guns he lost, he said the one he got back is actually the one that mattered most.
In April the gun was sold to a shop in Kalamazoo; another person bought it and when they tried to register it, it kicked back as stolen.
Battle Creek Police Officer Brad Duck, who works in the evidence division and called Miller, says he has never seen anything like this in his 25 years.
“This was kind of unusual. It made it more of a challenge, we didn’t have a report to follow-up on. After 25 years a lot of non-essential reports are destroyed,” he said.
But through working with the Michigan State Police and a little leg work, the antique firearm is finally back in the right hands.