CATEGORY: Crime

AUTHOR: STAFF

Civil War weapon stolen from Tupelo Museum

The curator of the Tupelo Museum is gunning for the culprit who made off recently with one of the museum's Civil War weapons.

An 1862 .44-caliber pistol was discovered missing Thursday. The gun was last seen Monday in its glass case in the Civil War room, said Oren Dunn, director and curator of the museum.

Dunn theorized that the culprit managed to get the weapon out of the locked case by prying the top of the case open about five inches and wiggling the weapon out.

There was no evidence that the lock on the back of the case had been tampered with.

"This wasn't just stolen from the museum, it was stolen from the community," Dunn said. "The few dollars that it could bring wouldn't offset the loss to the community."

Because the weapon does not contain all original parts, the gun is valued at about $125. Had it had all of its 1862 parts, the gun would have been worth about $500.

The gun was sold to the 11-year-old museum three years ago by a friend of Dunn's. The museum is located in Ballard Park on state Highway 6 West.

Dunn speculates that the gun was stolen and possibly sold to a Civil War collector who will "sit in a dark room all by himself looking at it, preventing the rest or the world from seeing it."

Dunn could not say if the weapon had been used in any of the Civil War battles fought in Lee County.

Anyone with information on this weapon is urged to call the Tupelo Police Department at 841-6491.

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