ANDERSON — An anonymous donation to a local resale store resulted in police collecting the item for safe keeping.
Anderson Police Department Maj. Joel Sandefur said officers were dispatched to Goodwill, 4909 S. Scatterfield Road, around 5:30 p.m. Monday to investigate a report of a handgun found in items donated to the store.
He said the store manager found an old double-action revolver inside a cigar box. The box was donated by an anonymous person and the manager requested that the officers take possession of the revolver.
“There could be a possibility that it was donated by mistake,” Sandefur said. “I have heard stories where this has happened before with other items, not necessarily guns. However, we have the handgun.”
Sam Perry, director of marketing communications for the Anderson Goodwill store, said firearm donations are uncommon, but it does happen.
“A sword, a spear, we have just about seen it all,” he said.
Perry said the store’s policy is to turn away firearm donations, but if one is donated by accident they contact the police and have it picked up.
“And that sounds like exactly what happened in this situation,” he said.
Perry said there are almost 80 retail locations throughout Indiana in his chain’s territory and they take in hundreds of thousands of donations per year.
“When you add up all those locations and we are only closed a few days of the year – people donate almost every single day of the year,” he said. “The fact it only happens a few times a year is a good thing.”
Sandefur said if the person donated the handgun by mistake, they can contact the Anderson Police Department to get it back.
He said the gun was not tested to see if it works, but it was not loaded when officers picked it up from the store. The Police Department normally does not take unwanted guns, but because it cannot be established who owns the revolver, the department is keeping the gun in its evidence room.
“We have limited property room space that needs to be reserved for evidence,” Sandefur said. “It is advisable that gun owners who are looking to dispose of legally obtained weapons should dispose of their guns through other legal means and channels.”
Sandefur said if someone finds a weapon or item of value where the owner is not known, however, they can turn it over to the department and file a police report.
“One added note for safety reasons, if someone were to find a weapon, or device that needs to be turned over to the police, please leave it in place and have the police come to it, rather than the person taking it to the police department,” Sandefur said.
Perry said other items not accepted by Anderson’s Goodwill include televisions, cribs, car seats, chemicals and paint cans. He said bladed weapons, however, can be accepted by the store and are shipped to their e-commerce facility where they can be sold online.
“We don’t have to keep them in the store where it could potentially be a safety risk,” Perry said. “The safety of our employees and customers is important to us, which is why we have those policies,” he said.