- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 14, 2017

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (AP) - A gun that was stolen about 40 years ago has finally been returned to its rightful owner in Grand Haven.

Dan Wiebenga and his brother were deer hunting the day his Ithaca 20-gauge pump shotgun was stolen from their pickup truck in 1977, the Grand Haven Tribune (https://bit.ly/2lMj6cc ) reported.

“We threw our guns in the back of the truck, put our hunting clothes on top of them and then went into Mr. Fables,” he said, referring to a restaurant at the time. “You didn’t think much about stuff getting stolen back then.” When the two men came out of the restaurant, Wiebenga’s gun was missing.

Wiebenga eventually received a check from his insurance company after filing a police report, with which he bought a new gun.

Grand Haven Department of Public Safety Lt. Joe Boyle said the Williamson County Sheriff’s Department in Texas called him in June 2016 to say they recovered the stolen gun during a traffic stop. Boyle said the young man who was stopped claimed the gun belonged to his teenage step-brother. The two were not charged because police said it was unlikely they knew it was a stolen gun.

“(The step-brother) was only 17, so they know he wasn’t the one who stole it,” Wiebenga said.

After finding the 1977 report on the stolen gun, Boyle was able to track the insurance company that Wiebenga happened to still be a customer for. The company handed the gun over to Wiebenga without asking for reimbursement from his previous police report, because of the amount of time that’s passed since the claim.

Wiebenga says the gun is still in good condition considering its age.

“I was really happy to get it back,” he said. “That was the first gun I bought new.”


Information from: Grand Haven Tribune, https://www.grandhaventribune.com

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