ALBUQUERQUE,N.M. (KRQE) - A family visiting New Mexico from California got quite the surprise during a stop a local museum. A loaded gun mysteriously made its way into their rental car.
The family says they cleaned out the car before going to the Natural History and Science Museum last weekend ahead of their flight home. That's why they're still confused as to how the firearm got there in the first place.
The loaded gun was the last thing couple Julie Mendolsohn and Casey Craig expected to find while on vacation.
"I just instinctively thought, 'oh maybe those are the keys'. So, I reached down and grabbed it," Casey Craig explained. "And what I pulled back was...a pistol, a sidearm, a firearm."
The California family says they rented from Avis at the Sunport. For four days, they went sightseeing around the state.
"We came up to see all of the neat ancient ruins," Mendelsohn said.
On their last day in town, they decided to go to the museum to kill a few hours before their flight. Earlier that day, Julie Mendelsohn says she thoroughly swept the rental car looking for any loose items.
"I have been dinged from a rental car company before for having sand in the car and it's a $75 fee and I'm not paying that," Mendelsohnn said. "So, I made sure the whole car was super clean before we left the hotel."
From the hotel, they went to the museum. "After we had been there for about an hour and a half or so, Julie had complained that she was chilly," Craig said.
So, he went to get her jacket, which is when they noticed their rental car keys were nowhere to be found. "It turned out the car was unlocked and the keys were not in the ignition," Craig said. "So, I started to search the car." That's when they saw the gun under the passenger seat and called Albuquerque Police. They weren't the only ones baffled.
"The two security guards from the museum said they'd never seen anything like it before," Mendelsohn said. "No one had."
In the end, there was no clear conclusion as to how the gun got there. APD says it did not come back as stolen possibly because the original gun owner did not know the serial number. Mendelsohn says nothing was stolen from the car. It had to be towed because the keys were never found.