Roswell, NM — A worker at a Roswell Albertons opened a case of frozen ribs in the meat section on Wednesday. Amongst the ribs was a loaded handgun. The bizarre find has law enforcement officials wondering where the gun came from.
“I have personally never heard of this in 13 years,” said Sgt. Jim Preston of the Roswell Police Department.
The Albertons employee and his supervisor turned the semi-automatic Rock Island Armory .38 Super over to police, along with the seven rounds of ammunition found with it.
Sgt. Preston told local news this gun is “rarely seen in this area.”
“We could speculate on a lot of things,” he said. “It could have been someone just dropped it there, or it could have been something that someone put it there trying to hide it for 100 different reasons.”
The meat package came from the Swift Packing Plant in Greenley, CO. The date on the meat package is June 8, 2011. Greenley police saw that their gang unit is exploring what happened during that time to determine whether the gun may have been involved in any crimes there.
Police say the pistol has not been reported stolen. Since the pistol was unwrapped from the package and cleaned before investigators were notified, some clues may have been lost.
“If we would have been notified while it was still in the box and no one would have touched it, there could have possibly been some forensic evidence that we could have actually looked into,” said Preston.
The Albertsons supervisor told police there was an indention in the box where the gun was packed in with the frozen meat. Store officials report that while it is “an extremely unusual circumstance,” no one in the store was in any danger.
The June 2011 date on the meat package “tells us that we do have a large amount of time that has passed,” said Preston. “And if it was stolen, we would have thought by now it would have been entered into the actual database NCIC.”
Police have now entered the gun into the National Crime Information Center database. They will conduct a federal firearms trace, which will track the serial number to the last place it was sold or documented.
Preston noted that the process could take weeks.
Loaded pistol found packed in frozen meat