A classic Ruger .22 cal. Mark I pistol stolen from Johnson's home during a burglary in 1982 is now back in his possession, thanks to the work of the Lansing Police Department—and the fact that he reported it using its serial number.
"I never thought I'd see it again. It's amazing," said the grateful owner.
At the time of the burglary, Michigan State Police entered information about the gun into the Law Enforcement Information Network. In January 2010, the Lansing PD recovered the gun while investigating a crime. It was held as evidence in a case until recently, when it was released.
No one was ever charged in the 1982 burglary, and it's unknown where the gun spent the prior 28 years.
Lt. William Brandt, now retired from the force, and Detective Sgt. Kyle McPhee personally returned the gun to Johnson. Lt. Brandt was in charge of the original burglary investigation back in 1982.
Last July, the Weekly Slug reported the story of 90-year-old retired Oregon dentist Dr. Warren Schafer, who was reunited with his Remington 1911 handgun nearly 40 years after it was taken from his home in a burglary.
The happy ending to the two stories should serve as a valuable lesson to all firearms owners. Despite our best intentions and actions during the course of our lives, one or more of our cherished firearms may be tragically lost in a home burglary or theft.
The good fortune of Johnson and Dr. Schafer is a reminder to keep a record of each firearm you own by its serial number, sales receipt and accessories. Photographic documentation is helpful as well.
But most important, remain vigilant and don't give up.