SEATTLE -- Police have provided more information about a missile launcher that turned up at the gun buyback on Saturday.
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Police say a man was standing outside the buyback event showing his recently purchased launch tube assembly for a Stinger portable surface-to-air missile.
He told officers that he had just purchased it for $100 from another person at the event.
Officers then asked the man if they could take a closer look at the launcher.
Police say the launch tube assembly for the Stinger is what holds the missile and is designed to be disposable after it is fired. Officers checked the tube and confirmed that there was no missile inside.
However, police say, even an expended launch tube is still a controlled military item. It is not available to civilians through any surplus or disposal program offered by the government.
Items such as this are required to be accounted for until they are ultimately destroyed.
Detectives from the Arson/Bomb Squad will notify the Army Criminal Investigation Division on Monday and see if they can determine through the serial number the status of the launch tube.
The man said he would like to keep the launch tube if he is legally able to do so, and he agreed to accept a gift card as compensation if the launch tube is not returned to him.
Police say most likely, the launch tube was previously obtained from the military illegally. If that’s case, SPD will likely return the item to Joint Base Lewis McChord, as is the case with other recovered military explosives and ordinance, where it will be properly accounted for and destroyed.