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New Years Eve in Las Vegas with 8 News NOW

Is handgun found by treasure hunters linked to a crime?

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SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) –  It wasn’t what they expected to find in the bottom of a pond near Stansbury Park.

Two treasure hunters who happen to be brothers found a mini-9 millimeter handgun during a recent outing. They were snorkeling Saturday when they came across the handgun submerged in the water.  They posted their find on YouTube.

“It’s a gun,” Samuel Crapo could be heard on the video posting.  “I don’t know what kind of gun it is.  Oh my gosh.”

After examining the weapon with other members of the family they called law enforcement in Tooele County.

“They told us it was stolen and do have an open investigation on it,” said Crapo who found the handgun.

Normally they find scraps of metal, sharp objects, even a pair of sunglasses.  But a handgun is new territory.

“I didn’t think it was real at first but looking over it, I knew it was a real gun,” he said.  

A private expert and deadly force expert said there is no doubt law enforcement is investigating the weapon. He said law enforcement will break down the gun to see if it is functional and then perform ballistic tests.

“They will load the gun and shoot the gun,” Joseph said.  “Once they fire the gun there’s unique fingerprints to a firearm.”

He said the testing will let law enforcement know whether this firearm was used in a crime or not.  

“Ballistic testing will give law enforcement all the information they need to know,” Joseph said. 

And once they get results, he said law enforcement will compare the gun to their own evidence found at a crime scene.

“There is a unique imprint left in the back of a (bullet) casing,” Joseph said. “So if by chance they have evidence of a crime whether its been a shooting or a homicide and shell casings were left behind, they would be able to determine by shooting the gun and looking at the imprint on the back of the casing (to see) if that gun was used in that crime.”

He also said they will look at the serial number to find its owner.  And if it was stolen he said police will review the details of that crime as well.

As for the two treasure hunters, they said turning over the handgun was their civic duty in hopes of solving a crime.

“We’d love to know if we’re helping people in that sense,” he said.  “We’d love to know.”

The Tooele County Sheriff’s Office did not return calls from News4Utah.  But Deputy District Attorney Gary Searle confirmed law enforcement did have the weapon and are currently investigating its history.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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