Stolen guns returned by thief in Sanilac County - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Stolen guns returned by thief in Sanilac County

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SANILAC COUNTY (WJRT) -

(11/10/12) - Here's a story you don't hear often. A thief who ripped-off a Mid-Michigan gun store has returned half of what he took.

"The note said, 'Jeff, I have brought back some of the guns I could,'" said Jeff Trepowski, the owner of Wild John's Party Store.

Nearly 50 guns were stolen from Wild John's Party Store in Sanilac County in August.

The person who took them, returned them sometime overnight on Saturday. "I thought I'd never see those guns again," Trepowski said.

Trepowski says the thief even left a corn seed trail leading to the back door where the guns were dropped off, making sure he wouldn't miss them. "It is kinda scary. They knew when I was going to be here. And it is going to be someone we know."

Returning stolen guns does not happen often. While Trepowski doesn't know what was behind the change of heart, a field agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has a theory.

"It was a direct result of a story done on Channel 12," said ATF Special Agent George Krappmann.

On Friday, ABC12's Terry Camp did a story on 19-year-old Travis Wallschlager. He was formally charged for stealing guns from a Bay County gun store. His crime carries a 10 year federal prison sentence.

ATF believes the guns Wallschlager allegedly stole from Williams Gun Shop in Auburn, were later sold to people in the Saginaw-area. Two of them were used in shooting deaths - a suicide and a murder.

Less than 24 hours after Terry's story aired, the stolen guns from Wild John's were returned.

"I don't this it is a coincidence, I think this a just a great thing. It shows the partnership that can happen between media and law enforcement," Krappmann said.

The ATF and another organization are offering rewards for information in both gun thefts, the one at Wild John's in Sanilac County and the one at Williams Gun Shop in Auburn.

If you have information, it could lead to a $10,000 payout.

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