When Ervin Malkowski’s Remington shotgun was stolen from his Bremerton residence in 1977, he didn’t think he would ever see it again. But after 41 years, Malkowski’s shotgun has been returned to its rightful owner, minus a barrel.
“I had never expected — ever — to see it again or ever hear about it, or anything like that,” Malkowski, who now lives in Port Orchard, said.
Malkowski was 29 years old when his 12-gauge, Remington 870 trap gun was taken from his home along with a sleeping bag. “There was a time when people didn’t lock their houses,” Malkowski said, recalling the theft. Now 70 years old, he was surprised when he recently received a call from an official with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office asking him about his stolen shotgun.
“He called me, and it was really a surprise to both of us that they’d found the thing,” Malkowski said. “[The detective] says, ‘Well, it’s all there, except the barrel’s missing. Do you still want it?’ I said, ‘Sure, I can just buy a new barrel for it.’”
What was more surprising, Malkowski said, was the fact that the gun somehow managed to travel all the way down to Lancaster, California, a city in Los Angeles County.
The shotgun was sent up to the Bremerton Police Department, and Malkowski has been reunited with his Remington. He said he intends to find a vintage barrel for the piece, even though he doesn’t shoot trap anymore. He figures it might make a fine gift for his great-grandchildren.