by Ivan Foley
How it got there, no one claims to know at this point. But a rifle in the name of the Platte County Sheriff’s Department has been recovered in Arizona by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF).
The Landmark exclusively broke the story Tuesday night at Twitter.com/ivanfoley.
Cpt. Erik Holland, public information officer for the sheriff’s department, confirmed the story Wednesday morning.
The rifle is an older style M14, which Holland describes as a “long, larger, heavier wooden type gun.”
Holland said the sheriff’s department is actively working with the ATF in an effort to determine “how the rifle ended up in Arizona.”
According to the sheriff’s department, the rifle in question “came into possession of the sheriff’s department and left the sheriff’s department” under the previous sheriff.
If so, this means the rifle has not been in the possession of the local sheriff’s department in more than 15 years.
Richard Anderson, current sheriff, was elected in 1996 and took office in January 1997. He replaced longtime sheriff Tom Thomas, who retired and did not seek election in 1996.
“It (the gun) obviously pre-dates anybody that’s in a position of authority there now,” Holland remarked.
“All the information we have indicates that rifle came into the sheriff’s department under Sheriff Thomas and was gone under that sheriff,” Holland told The Landmark.
Holland said he is not certain how the ATF came upon the weapon in Arizona.
“I believe they got a call from a gun dealer, but I don’t know that for sure,” he remarked early Wednesday.
Hours after Holland made that comment to The Landmark, the sheriff’s department confirmed the ATF had recovered the rifle from a firearms dealer in Arizona.
A call by The Landmark to Tom Mangan, public information officer for the ATF in Arizona, had not yet been returned at deadline Wednesday morning.
The sheriff’s department, Holland said, currently has some older “non-functioning” M14 rifles that it uses with its Color Guard.
Holland indicated the sheriff’s department would likely be putting out a press release on the topic later Wednesday.