Seattle police worked with Army officials Monday to track down the history of a nonfunctional missile launcher that showed up at a weapons buyback program and to determine whether it was legal or possibly stolen from the military.
A man standing outside the event Saturday bought the military weapon for $100 from another person there, said police detective Mark Jamieson.
The single-use device is a launch tube assembly for a Stinger portable surface-to-air missile and already had been used. As a controlled military item, it is not available to civilians through any surplus or disposal program offered by the government, Jamieson said.
Police took possession of the launch tube Saturday. Police said the man who had purchased it agreed to accept a gift card as compensation if the launch tube is not returned to him, though the man indicated he wanted to keep it if he was legally able to do so.
Police contacted Army officials at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, deputy chief Nick Metz said.
“Once it’s brought on base and investigators have a chance to look at it, they’ll see what they can determine,” Army spokesman Joe Kubistek said Monday. “It’s too early to give any information on it until we have hands-on access to see it and take a look at it.”
Police saw the private exchange of the military launch tube near the gun buyback event, where gun buyers tempted those standing in long lines to turn in their weapons with cash.
“It was absolutely crazy what we saw out there,” Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said Monday at a news conference where officials announced they had collected 716 weapons, including four confirmed as stolen.