According to reports from the , at approximately 2:45 p.m. on Thursday, May 24, an officer on patrol in the 700 block of West Marshall Street was flagged down by a man who wished to report a firearm he found in the property he owns.
The man reportedly told police that was cleaning up on the second floor of the building sometime in April when his foot went through the floor and down through the ceiling of the room below. While he was making repairs to the hole, he discovered a handgun hidden between the floors.
Police say the gun, a Colt .22 Automatic Long Rifle model handgun, was not reported stolen and was last owned by a Ralph O'Neil, born in 1905. The last date of sale was reportedly Dec. 29, 1952.
The property owner who reported finding the gun told police he has owned the building for the last 10 years and believes it must have been stashed there before he took possession of the property.
Norristown Patch showed a picture of the firearm to employees at In Site Firearms & Law Enforcement Supplies at Ridge Pike & Burnside Avenue in West Norriton, who noted that the barrel of the gun had been "chopped," most likely to allow for the owner to keep the gun in his vest.
In Site employees said the gun, a Sport Woodsman model, while an interesting specimen, is not worth much due to the damaged barrel.
"Most collectors won't pay top dollar for a gun that's been cut," an employee said.
An intact Colt .22 Long Rifle Sport Model Woodsman can bring anywhere from several hundred to upwards of $1000, depending on condition.
A magazine advertisement from 1954 lists the gun's retail price as $70 and claims that owners of the gun "know you've got the sweetest, most accurate automatic money can buy." (You can see the advertisement in our media section.)