WZZM 13 News

Shotgun Returned to Owner After Being Stolen From a Vehicle in 1977

Stolen shotgun returned after 40 years.

Back in 1973, Don Wiebenga purchased a 20-gauge Ithaca shotgun, his first gun purchase. Four years later, it was stolen out of the back of his truck while he ate breakfast at a restaurant during the 1977 deer season.

The Grand Haven resident probably never thought he would see his Ithaca ever again. But a routine traffic stop in Texas recently changed all that. It's a story you've got to hear to believe.

During a routine traffic stop, Austin, Texas police ran the serial number of a shotgun in a driver's car, it was traced back as having been stolen in Michigan 40 years earlier.

The gun was properly stored for transport when the driver was stopped and because the gun had been stolen long  before the driver was even born, it's not very likely he knew he was in possession of a stolen firearm.

"I just feel sorry for the kid who lost it because he probably never knew he bought a stolen gun," Wiebenga told WZZM 13 News.

Interestingly enough, after the theft, Wiebenga replaced the shotgun with the help of insurance and he's still using the replacement gun to this day.

But his original Ithaca now comes with one heck of a story to go with it.

This is one of those 'if an inanimate object could talk' moments for sure. One can only wonder how many times the gun changed hands and how it eventually ended up in Texas!