Antique gun stolen from museum
By CHRIS KNAUSS Staff Writer
Published: Wednesday, February 4, 2009 7:23 AM CST
ST. MICHAELS An antique shotgun was stolen from the St. Michaels Museum at St. Mary’s Square on Tuesday evening, Jan. 20.
The gun is 65 inches long and non-functional a single-barreled, muzzleloader made between 1830 and 1835 in England by Joseph Manton. It can also be described as a .60 caliber fowling gun or shotgun.
“It was called a fowling gun because a lot of people used them for shooting ducks and for hunting,” said museum publicist George Ludington. “You could ram any type of metal objects in it and fire it just like buckshot.”
A St. Michaels police officer responded to an alarm at 9:30 p.m. at the museum. The officer found the side door kicked in, display items in front of the door pushed aside, an antique sled broken, and other items displaced. The officer found one muzzleloading rifle hanging sideways by a security wire and a second gun, the fowling gun, missing.
A neighborhood check did not provide additional information on the burglary. Museum staff arrived and determined only the single shotgun was missing.
The gun is considered irreplaceable. It was donated to the museum by local residents who believe the gun was used by a family member during the American Civil War.
One distinguishing detail of the gun is the trigger guard, which is brass and engraved with a pineapple and floral design. The wooden stock cheek rest is designed for a right-handed shooter. The gun’s tamping rod was broken during the crime.
The museum is offering a cash reward for information that leads to an arrest and recovery of the gun.
Ludington said the gun is probably valued between $600 and $1,200.
“The real value is its history,” said Ludington. “And the history belongs to St. Michaels and the family that donated it to us. It’s an inoperable weapon. I don’t know if it can work again or not.”
Museum volunteers are attempting to locate a photograph of the gun to help recovery efforts.
St. Michaels police say they have no leads in the investigation and do not know if the theft was planned or a random act.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call the St. Michaels Police Department at 410-745-9507.
“Whoever did it, somebody might have heard something, somebody might have talked about it, or whatever,” said Ludington. “Maybe they’ll be nice enough to give the police a call and we can get this thing back.”