ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) - A bizarre find in a package of meat at a grocery store has law enforcement agencies from New Mexico and Colorado wondering where the gun came from.
So far everyone involved with the case has said they've never seen this one before. A worker unwrapping frozen meat at Albertsons found a handgun and ammunition packed with it.
A worker at a Roswell Albertsons opened a case of frozen ribs in the meat section and made the discovery Wednesday.
"I have personally never heard of this in 13 years," said Sgt. Jim Preston of the Roswell Police Department.
The worker told his supervisor and turned the semi-automatic Rock Island Armory .38 Super along with seven rounds of ammo found with it over to police.
Preston told KRQE News 13 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.
There are a couple clues to the mystery. According to the police report, the meat package came from the Swift Packing Plant in Greeley, Colo., and the date on the package is June 8, 2011.
News 13 spoke with Greeley police who said their gang unit is exploring what occurred during that time to determine whether the gun may have been involved in any crimes there.
Police said the pistol has not been reported stolen. Since it was cleaned off before police were notified, investigators said that does pose a problem.
"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 told News 13 this is an extremely unusual circumstance, and that no one in the store was in danger when the gun was found.
The year old 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.
That process could take weeks, Preston added.
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