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Antique pistol makes its way back to officer's family

Law enforcement treasure pops up at thrift shop in Deerfield Beach

Sally McLachlan thought she was only buying a $15 filing cabinet at a thrift shop in Deerfield Beach. But the old piece of furniture had two guns inside. 

One of the guns was an Iver Johnson 38 short. The other was a Smith and Wesson. 

She contacted police. Broward Sheriff's Office Deputy Jeff Cohen noticed one of the guns was engraved with the name, "Capt. John Struzenski"

He was a captain with the Akron, Ohio, police department in the 1950s. He was dead. His wife and daughter were also dead. But Cohen found his granddaughter Michelle Balaun. It turns out she had been looking for the guns. 

"I had heard the story of the guns my whole entire life," Balaun said. "My grandfather was a big hero for me."

Balaun kept some of the newspaper clippings highlighting Struzenski's accomplishments.

"Coming from a family of law enforcement it's extremely valuable to the family to be able to have some sort of memorabilia from his time in law enforcement," Cohen said. 

Cohen helped Balaun and McLachlan, who turned over the guns when she found them, to meet. They live a few blocks apart. 

"I'm so glad they got back to you," McLachlan said.

"Oh, I'm so glad that you actually turned them in," Balaun said. 


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