While at a friend’s baby shower, a couple opened a baby bouncer from a Florida Goodwill to assemble the equipment. However, once they lifted the lid, what they found inside had them immediately calling the police.
While heading to her friend’s baby shower in Crestview, Veronica Alvarez-Rodriguez spotted a Baby Einstein infant bouncer for $9.99, a real steal for what appeared to be an unopened, unused product. After handing the present to her friend, however, she quickly realized that her purchase wasn’t quite as untainted as she expected.
Every now and then, the local Goodwill will render a genuine prize. From priceless family heirlooms to invaluable historical paraphernalia, thrift stores are the perfect places for avid treasure hunters. Of course, sometimes buyers will stumble upon something truly bewildering and, for one Florida couple, possibly illegal.
When the father-to-be opened the seemingly brand-new bouncer, he delightedly shouted, “You guys got me a gun!” The other guests immediately burst into laughter, but Alvarez-Rodriguez and her husband were confused. Instead of a child’s bouncer was a Mossberg 715T semi-automatic rifle.
“Like everyone’s laughing, thinking it’s a joke. And we are sitting there, me and my husband are shocked. Like no, that’s not supposed to be in the box,” she said.
The couple then pulled out a full magazine and several boxes of ammunition, some of which didn’t belong to that particular make of gun, WEAR-TV reports. Expecting mother Amber Rosax was stunned.
“They started pulling everything out and ammo started coming out. Like stuff that wasn’t for that gun,” she said.
Still in shock, the couple called the Crestview Police, who quickly arrived to inspect the weapon. Initially, the officers told Rosax that she and her partner could keep the gun. However, the next day, they called back and asked the couple to voluntarily relinquish the rifle until after an investigation was complete, Northwest Florida Daily News reports.
“We have run the serial numbers and we’ll continue to check to make sure the firearm doesn’t come up one – stolen, or two – it was used in any crime,” explained Chief Stephen McCosker.
The couple gladly turned over the firearm to the police for their investigation. The Military Times reports that the department has confirmed that the weapon had not been reported stolen.
“Goodwill has the best treasures for $9.99,” Veronica Alvarez-Rodriguez said. “We are all thankful that is was us. All of our husbands are military. So thankfully it did end up in our hands.”
After posting about the bizarre event on Facebook, Alvarez-Rodriguez received backlash from social media users accusing her of faking the story. Some contested that the rifle could not even fit in the box while others insisted that Goodwill doesn’t accept baby equipment for resale. This prompted Alvarez-Rodriguez to release a video showing the fully-assembled rifle easily positioned in the box and turning over the receipt to local media.
“To all the news reporters and everyone else following the story…I am not a crestview mom & I am not a Floridian! I did not expect to find a gun in a baby box and NO the rifle was not fully loaded as the media is switching our story. Also you can see the rifle fits in the box in the video I posted that’s all. Still can’t believe this happening,” she wrote.
Officers have checked the expecting couple’s IDs to verify that they are not convicted felons. If the rifle’s history checks out, the couple will be the proud new owners of the Mossberg as well as ammunition and a magazine for another firearm.
Police have determined that there is no evidence of foul play. It is most likely that the previous owner of the rifle mistakenly donated the gun to a Goodwill collection point between Tallahassee and Pensacola.
Although Alvarez-Rodriguez had hoped to gift her friend a brand new bouncer, she inadvertently gave the couple something even more valuable. While the father and mother-to-be may not have a place to bounce their infant, they can ensure that their little one will grow up with a little home security.