Scott Newberry

Scott Newberry

THOMASVILLE — A firearm stolen 20 years ago in neighboring Tallahassee, Florida, is among the weapons turned in during Thomasville Police Department’s gun buy back exercise.

A check is done with Georgia and national crime information centers on each gun turned in.

Tallahassee Police Department reported the Norinco 7.62 assault rifle was stolen in 1999. The semi-automatic weapon holds 30 rounds, said Sgt. Scott Newberry, TPD Criminal Investigation Division assistant commander.

The Tallahassee police record about the stolen weapon is in archives. A search for the original report began Friday.

If Tallahassee police can locate the owner, the rifle will be turned over to the Florida agency.

In the two weeks since the gun buy back began, Thomasville police have received 26 weapons and issued $2,050 in VISA gift cards in return.

Police Chief Troy Rich allocated $1,000 for the buy back.

Rich said he has received a small donation to help, and two private entities will provide donations.

“I wasn’t sure what the response would be,” the chief said. “I’ve gotten more than anticipated.”

A dozen handguns have been surrendered, 13 rifles/shotguns and the stolen assault rifle.

The buy back continues.

Each gun’s serial number is checked to verify that it matches the appropriate firearm. Georgia law requires the weapons to be sold to a licensed gun dealer at a later date.

“It’s been a highly-successful program,” Newberry said.

Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820