Stolen guns returned, sheriff urges thief to come forward - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Stolen guns returned, sheriff urges thief to come forward

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(11/12/12) - It's something that doesn't happen often. A criminal with a conscience. Nearly three months after dozens of guns were stolen from a Sanilac County store, half of them are returned.

When the owner of Wild John's Party Store came to work Saturday morning, he had quite the surprise. "There was a broken corn bag from the front door all the way to the back door," said Jeff Trepkowski.

That trail of corn lead to 22 guns. "I never thought I'd see these guns again," Trepkowski said.

Roughly 45 guns were stolen on Aug. 15.

One other gun was recovered just last week in Utica during a traffic stop by a police officer. The rest are still missing.

"Whoever the individual was didn't want them to fall in the wrong hands again," said Sanilac County Sheriff Garry Biniecki.

There was also a note left for Trepkowski to find. It was written on the back door above the guns. The Sheriff and his investigators aren't revealing what it said because they think what was written could help them find the thief, or thieves.

But just because some of the guns were returned, doesn't mean the case is closed.

"They're going to be processed for both DNA and fingerprints," Biniecki said.

The sheriff's department and the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are working to find the thief or thieves before anything else serious happens.

As ABC12 News reported Friday, two guns taken from a Bay County gun store, were used in two shooting deaths. One was a murder, the other a suicide.

Now 19-year-old Travis Wallschlager faces federal charges in that gun theft.

The sheriff thinks that story was a wake-up call. "That's the proof in the pudding right there. It does happen and somebody else could get hurt."

The sheriff is urging anyone with information to do the right thing. "They need to come forward. They need to cooperate, we can work on this. We can work together on this right now, we can mitigate things. We can't if they don't come forward."

Trepkowski wants the same thing. "What's kind of scary, they obviously knew when I was going to be here, and probably, well obviously it's somebody we know."

The ATF and another organization are each offering $5,000 rewards for information in this case.

Please call the sheriff's department at 810-648-2000, or the ATF at 1-800-ATF-GUNS if you have any information.

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