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How a German rifle stolen in ’73 in Madison was recovered

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MADISON (WKOW) -- In 1973, authorities say a 41-year old man had a rare rifle stolen from the bed of his pick up truck on Madison's South Baldwin Street.

The owner died a few years after the theft.

But Madison Police officials say forty-six years later, that gun - a German Mauser model, regarded as one of the finest military bolt action rifles in history - turned up.

The weapon turned up last month, when someone brought it to the police station in Centerville, Ohio.

Madison Police Spokesperson Joel DeSpain says a detective there did the rest.

"He checked the serial number and found this was the German Mauser rifle that had been stolen in Madison in 1973," DeSpain says.

DeSpain says official police reports at the time of the theft have been maintained for decades at the Madison Police Department, even though the case had been long since cold.

The rifle is being kept in an evidence box in MPD's Property Room.

DeSpain says the gun represents a piece of family history and will be returned to the owner's daughter, after required firearms background checks take place.

Case closed.

Sort of.

"We had a gentleman here in Madison who was using it to hunt deer, but it had a life before that, and it had a life after 1973," DeSpain says. "Who had that gun, who stole it, how it ended up in Ohio, that's all part of the mystery at this point."

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