Phoenix Homeowner Digs Up a Duffel Bag Full of Rusted Guns and Magazines in His Yard

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duffel bag guns dug dig garden phoenix
Courtesy Phoenix Police Department

Who lost their guns? Anyone? That’s the question Phoenix Police are asking after a homeowner in the west valley area dug up a surprise in his back yard. The resident unearthed a duffel bag full of mildly rusty guns.

Amazingly, instead of calling dibs on the find, the homeowner called police.

The homeowner told police he was digging a hole to plant a tree when he discovered the guns. Look at the picture and see what you think.

Image courtesy Phoenix PD Facebook

Who plants a tree that close to a wall? Unless they plan on removing the wall in a few years. In any case, the resident called the local 5-0 who cheerfully carted off the guns to investigate if they’d been used in any crimes.

Will the guns be returned to their rightful owner(s)? Time will tell.

From Phoenix PD Facebook page.

Homeowners in a west valley home were digging a hole for a tree when they dug up more than they asked for!

Imagine their surprise when they found a duffle bag, opened it up, and saw rusted rifles and handguns. They called #PHXPD and turned them over to detectives, who will investigate if these firearms were used in any crimes. #youneverknowwhatyoumayfind

We have a story pending on how to diversify your collection of guns to guard against theft, catastrophe or other issues. We’ll be running it in the coming days. Stay tuned.

Suffice it to say that burying your guns in a duffel bag isn’t an approved way to protect your collection against loss. Or to cache your guns.

70 COMMENTS

  1. My hunting buddy, Mike, found a serviceable Beretta .45 on a natural shelf in a rocky crag (a nice dry place) on an Elk hunt many years ago. He cleaned it up and used it for about a decade, before loosing it in the same wilderness on an Elk hunt this year! It fell out of his hip holster, we think. I guess that gun was born to run.

      • Yes, this is a How Not To Cache Your Guns story. Wonder how many might be linked to old crimes? More likely, someone buried it to hide them, and forgot to retrieve them, or his/her significant other buried them out of spite. We’ll probably never know the whole story. A friend of mine found an old K98 Mauser during a hunt 10 or so years ago. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in salvageable condition. He donated it to the local DOW office.

    • At the church I used to work at, we found a Taurus PT745 I believe? In the curb on the street next to the church. I’ll be honest, if I had found it, the temptation to keep would have been strong. But it had clearly been tossed out of a vehicle, so I think my wiser self would have won in the end…

      The church member who found it, acted like he had seen a snake, and nearly fainted when I picked it up. He was more than happy to call the cops.

  2. Personally I think that was a good call to turn them over to the cops, you don’t want to get caught with a weapon used in a serious crime,
    But if they can’t find the owner, then put in a claim for them. I saw a couple I would like to have in that stash. From the looks of the guns it could have been a preper stash.

    • There’s no way to tell if those guns were used in a crime. They may be stolen and that may be revealed, but unless the criminal just happened to leave the serial number on his calling card at the scene of a crime forget it. He could have just called in the serial number. My bet is that after they do a serial check and if there is not a legal owner, the guns will be turned into medal hash. I would have cleaned them up and kept them. No big deal.
      Now I know a guy that had his Ruger 22 revolver stolen and the gun was recovered at a murder robbery at a motel on the highway. After the case was complete the gun was returned to the owner. Property is property. If you have a gun that is held in a property room and the case is over, go ask for it. Cops have a habit of waiting 30 days and tag it unclaimed for disposal.

        • If there is any serious rusting or pitting in the barrels, I don’t think a ballistics test is going to be very useful for much of anything.

        • Unless there is some other connection between you and the crime or you and the gun or you and the victim there is virtually zero chance of you being charged even if they somehow figured out a gun you found was used in a crime, which is doubtful from the start.

          For example, if I found a gun that was discovered to have been used in a drive by in the last year I can pretty damn well account for my whereabouts at all times, with documentation, due to all the hours I’ve been working this year. I don’t know a single drug dealer, or gang member, and I don’t frequent bad parts of towns I am in. So putting me at the scene would likely be impossible and there would be no connection between me and anyone who had been shot or shot at.

          If I found a bag of rusted guns I would not call the cops, I would message one of my favorite youtubers for advice on how to proceed https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7VFwqrAmdrvixQFfpFL75A

        • and seeing as how all barrels by same manufacturer are rifled the same, how can they tell which rifled bbl the bullet came from? I’ve never believed that BS.

        • You watch too many TV shows. Ballistics tests are garbage. Two ballistic forensic techs won’t agree and in court, they always get beat up. You can take ten like guns and get head scratching on at least 5 matches and thats in a laboratory. Some states still require fired cases thinking they can match those. That’s also been disproven.
          Too many different bullet manufacturers and too many different components and cartridge variations. On top of that, recovered bullets are too mangled to match. Urban criminals usually load what they can scrape up among themselves or steal. Another usually. Their magazines are usually loaded with a hodge podge of cartridges, no two alike. Ballistics forensics is never a solid yes this bullet was fired from this gun unless it was a FMJ fired into ballistic gellitin or water. You don’t find fired bullets just lying around whole and intact at a crime scene. Dude!

    • Yep. And if you were doing it as some sort of prepper move you would think one would take greater care with preparing them for long term storage.

  3. Those guns were obviously grown from seeds planted in the soil. Look for the Department of Agriculture to issue prohibitive regulations in the near future.

  4. I once found a break action 20 gauge in the closet of the house we were renting. I gave it to our landlord (who was an old friend of the family). I wonder what ever came of it. The landlord died (old fellow) a couple years ago, so I guess I’ll never find out.

    This stash seems more nefarious. Normal people don’t bury guns in duffle bags to rust. Plus, the mix of guns is wacky. Most people would probably bury normal handguns instead of stuff like Mac-10(?).

  5. He called the police to deal with the find. Shaking head, rolling eyes. Obviously a non-gun Libtard. I have a lot of guns/ammo/supplies buried……not in a duffel bag……on Libtards’ properties… just not up against their house, no residential property……no connection to me and easy access. No one will look there for my guns in SHTF or confiscation scenario. When they come to my house for my guns, they will get only “throw away”, “fight-to-my-good-guns” guns. Then, the good ‘uns will be recovered and activated. Should I not be able to recover them, event triggers will cause others to receive detailed instructions where to recover and activate.

    • I’ll send you my email. If I survive the drama that somehow takes you down I promise to fight to the death with your toys to defend this country. And I may light a candle in your honor an memory.

    • “I have a lot of guns/ammo/supplies buried……not in a duffel bag……on Libtards’ properties… just not up against their house, no residential property……no connection to me and easy access.”

      Yes sir, a real law & order conservative, occupying the moral high ground!

      I find it interesting that you believe you have property rights on other people’s property.

      I wonder, if the property owner found the buried cache, would you attempt to claim ownership?

    • If the MAC and micro-Uzi are open bolt semis they’d probably be worth restoring. ATF fiat made those illegal to manufacture since 1982, so there’s solid demand.

  6. “Duffel bag full of rusted guns”? Looks like an AK, AR, MAC 11, intergalactic ray gun (Mini Uzi?). Maybe could be resurrected to function.

      • No. Especially not if there is no other connection between you and the crime and you have a plausible explanation of where you got the guns.

        But how would you get caught, anyway? I’ve been a gun nut since the early 90’s and only two time has a cop run the serial numbers of my guns. First was a traffic stop back in San Antonio in the 90’s when I was moving and had almost my entire collection in the car. The cops were a rookie and a trainer and the trainer thought it would be good experience for the rookie. About halfway through what I had they gave up and sent me on my way with my collection intact.

        The second was when I was detained for open carry back in ’08 in Allentown. The gun was in the PA (nota)registry so no issues there. After 45 minutes figuring out that they had nothing they could charge me for I was sent on my way with my gun.

        I don’t generally OC anymore, except for special occasions. There is no duty to inform during police interactions in PA so I keep my mouth shut.
        I have never been asked if I have any guns on me or in the vehicle, and I generally get pulled over 2-4 times a year as I drive a lot of long distances for work.

        Aside from those 2 specific days over 30 years I could have had anything on me or in my vehicle and no one would ever know.

      • Miner said: “I found it fascinating that your first thought is about men’s underwear.’

        I found it fascinating that you noticed the word underwear….liberals have way too many major defects in their insane psyches to be understood by normal, sane humans.

    • Not really.
      In Phoenix, rain gutters aren’t as much a thing as in most other places. What rain we get just runs off the roof to pretty much where that duffel bag was buried. So rust was pretty much guaranteed.
      According to local news, the family currently in the house has lived there for several years, so the guns have been rotting there for a while.
      Although it does seem to be a strange place to be digging to plant a tree. But then, reporters aren’t really known for getting their facts straight; the digging could have been to plant something else.

  7. Hmmm, Phoenix…buried…possible NFA firearms…has anyone contacted Obama / Holder regarding legacy “Fast and Furious” weapons?

    I’d be looking at records to see who owned / rented the home ≈10 years ago…either a BATFe or a Cartel drop house?

  8. I believe I would have checked to see if I could have fixed them up first but what is funny is that there were just two mags for the AR-type guns and a bunch more for the others

  9. Turning the guns in is the right thing to do whatever they are. Sloppy burying like that smells like some criminal, narco cartel or gang banger buried them in a hurry for very bad reasons. You do not want to be fixing those up and just using them. Maybe someday get discovered with a serial number connected to a drug killing.

    On the other hand, Arizona has a law prohibiting cops from destroying guns. So, make a claim on them, hell yes.

    On restoring, the aluminum and stainless parts should do just fine. Same with plastics. Anything in there of other metals or wood could be very bad off. Especially if that is a lower spot on the property where seasonal rains flow to.

    And yeah, who the heck plants a tree right against a wall? Flowers and simple shrubs, sure.

    But a tree?

    • Having restored a few guns and other metal items, I can tell you that even aluminum and SS can corrode under the conditions that likely prevailed here.

    • Easy, somebody that does not want to get caught with guns likely used in a crime.

      Can you imagine your typical prepper or gun guy burying guns in a plan cloth bag? No protection from rain? Who does that but someone hiding stuff fast? Hiding stuff they don’t want to get caught with? Maybe to come back for later?

      Thing to do is research who owned the property previously.

  10. There was a blogger a few years back – SF who spoke Czech IIRC – and in his training and experience he told about how gun caches result in exactly this: Rusted Junk. He further related that in Ireland most were discovered by simply trailing the responsible caretaker who had to periodically check nobody else stole them.

    And at risk of repeating someone above, the time you think you should start burying your guns is when you need them.

    Nice haul of 1980’s gun show hardware. In those days the aisles were filled with Mac 10 flats kits, Uzi parts, and where possible you carried. Now you can’t even walk in with a firearm holstered even tho you did at the gas station filling up to get there. Two steps forward one step back.

  11. Finders keepers. I don’t know about the laws in other states but in Indiana if you find a gun and turn it in to the authorities and no one claims it, it’s yours. I found a .410 bolt action shotgun along the road while squirrel hunting, turned it in to the sheriff’s department and they told me to check back in 30 days, if it’s not claimed you can have it and I still have it, that was in 1982.

  12. Looks like a good find to me. Most things look like they are salvageable. A little light sand blasting of the metal parts of magazines and changing barrels will do the trick if the internals are in good shape.

    • Probably cost many hours to refurb, and likely to find too many parts unsalvageable. And if you end up with anything functional, it would look like junk anyway. Not a good use of your time.

  13. I would like to know how long the landowner had that patch of land, but I am assuming these weapons had been buried before he arrived in that house.

    While I do recognize in principle the fact that the landowner could keep those guns, I think that they did the most sensible thing to do. Even if with the right amount of elbow grease the guns could be brought back to shooting conditions, the would never be in conditions to justify the practical and legal hassle.

    This is just my personal feeling, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable if I couldn’t trace back the history of my guns to at least the lawful owner who gave them to me.

    • According to AZFamily, the current residents have owned the property about four years, but it was a rental before that, with occupants coming and going. Rainfall has been light in the past decade, so the rust could be about right for them being buried for a bunch of years.
      I haven’t seen any reports about whether or not the finders have put in a claim on the guns after the investigation is done.

  14. I would certainly have tried to claim those if no one else did. That looks like a micro Uzi.

    Bet those would have cleanes up well enough to shoot with electrolysis.

    • Gotta look out for those .9mm guns.
      The bullets are extremely light, but the high velocity will let them defeat over six inches of armor plate.

  15. how to people get so lucky! What an idiot for not keeping them though. This reminds me of the guy who found an AR15 in a box at a Goodwill store. I wish!

  16. I dunno, I hate to see guns handed over to “the authorities” but if I were in the discoverer’s shoes, I’d probably do the same: at least 2 of the guns in question appear to be NFA items. Heck, the AR-pattern rifle is *clearly* an SBR. Just not worth the trouble in terms of restoration and secrecy and possibility of possessing a weapon used in a felony vs benefit. And as others have said, the manner of burial definitely doesn’t suggest “legit”.

    Sorta-related CSB:
    I live in coastal Alaska and found a K-frame stainless S&W revolver below the high tide line in a remote area. I eventually decided to contact the Alaska State Troopers to run the serial number to see if it was reported lost or stolen or used in a crime (it was bugging me). The gal I spoke with on the phone was very skeptical of the notion that I “found” the gun (seemed to think I’d stolen it). When I got a follow-up call from an actual trooper he was pretty chill; he informed me the serial wasn’t reported lost/stolen/sought for a crime and congratulated me on the find. Even gave me some restoration advice, as the grips were rotted and even the stainless was starting to corrode from saltwater exposure.

    Nice to live in a state where law enforcement expects people to be armed and comfortable with arms by default…

  17. “the AR-pattern rifle is *clearly* an SBR”.
    Or a BB gun. The only AR I’ve seen that looks like that one, with its huge side rails, is a BB gun.

  18. From the article:
    “Who plants a tree that close to a wall? ”
    Some dwarf trees, and espalier fruit trees (look it up) are commonly planted close to walls or fences for support. So it’s not a totally suspicious dig.

  19. I love the conjecture here. “No one would plant something that close to a wall. No one would bury guns in a duffel like that.”

    Did it ever occur to some of you that stuff could have been buried by a pepper or something several years ago who simply didn’t know what they were doing? Or that maybe every homeowner isn’t an expert in landscape design?

    Yes, could certainly be there as a result of trying to hid criminal activity. But could have been put there years ago by some wanna be prepped who then died unexpectedly, or maybe even by a guy who didn’t want them taken in a messy divorce. Who knows?

  20. Phoenix is major Mexican gang hub. It, at one time, and probably still does, hold the unfortunate title of the kidnap capital of America. Chances are the guns are stolen and I’d be willing to bet, likely modified for full auto. The AR is obviously an SBR and I seriously doubt the previous owner registered it.

    It’s a beautiful city but it’s sliding into POS status due to the crime. I still miss it a little though.

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