Story last updated at 3:07 p.m. Thursday, December 12, 2002

Gun accidently found by shopper
A Fairbanks thrift store unknowingly offered a one-time special last week -- buy metal shelves for $7.99 and get a .38 caliber Smith and Wesson for free.

Rhonda Valley cashed in on the deal while shopping at Value Village. She bought some shelves, started carrying them to her car, when a plastic bag fell out of a slot that would normally hold mail.

The bag contained a gun that was marked as evidence for the Fairbanks police department.

The gun frightened Valley who found a manager. The manager called the police.

Fairbanks police Lt. Dusty Johnson said the gun probably was returned to its owner, who didn't bother to remove the evidence sticker.

"We've found guns that are many years old before," Johnson said.

The case number and date were hand-written on the sticker. The case was from 1974.

Fairbanks Officer Dave Stevenson went to the thrift store to pick up the gun and said the revolver was made in the early '70s.

"That used to be the No.1 murder weapon used at the time," he said. "They were cheap. You could buy them over the counter."

Or as Valley found out, you can find them in discount shelving.

-- Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

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