SEATTLE - A missile launcher was collected during Saturday’s gun buyback event, and the Seattle Police Department provided clarification on the item.
Police said a man at the event was showing a launch tube assembly for a Stinger portable surface-to-air missile he recently purchased.
Several people informed officers about the man and the item.
When officers found the man, they spoke with him and he told them that he had just purchased the item for $100 from another person at the event. The officers then asked the man if they could take a closer look at the item.
According to police, the launch tube assembly for the Stinger is what holds the actual missile and is designed to be disposable after it is fired.
Officers looked at the tube and confirmed there was no missile inside.
Police said an expended launch tube is a controlled military item and it is not available to civilians through any surplus or disposal program offered by the government. The tube is required to be accounted for until they are ultimately destroyed.
Detectives will notify the Army Criminal Investigation Division and see if they can determine through the serial number for the status of the collected tube.
Officers gave the man a case number, a short report regarding the circumstances about the item and took possession of the tube.
According to police, the man said that he would like to keep the launch tube if it was legal. He accepted a gift card as compensation if the launch tube is not returned to him.
The Seattle Police Department said the launch tube was most likely obtained unlawfully from the military. If so, Seattle police will return the item to Join Base Lewis-McChord, where it will be accounted for and destroyed.