When Veronica Alvarez-Rodriguez gifted her friend a bouncer from Goodwill for her baby shower, the last thing she expected to find inside was a rifle.
Thrift shops are some of the best places to find lightly used goods at really great prices. Sometimes, however, you don't always get what you paid for. In Veronica Alvarez-Rodriguez's case, she really didn't get what she paid for. After a trip to her local Goodwill, a nonprofit thrift shop, to find an appropriate gift for a baby shower, she walked away with a baby bouncer. Appropriate enough — or she thought. After she gifted the find to her friend and mother-to-be Amber Rosas and her husband, they were quite shocked by what they found inside instead. When the expecting couple opened the box up, they discovered to their surprise a semi-automatic rifle inside instead. Understandably, Rosas and her husband were quite taken aback, CNN reports.
Alvarez-Rodriguez visited her local Goodwill store in Valparaiso, Florida, on Sunday. After searching around a little bit, she walked out of the outlet with two seemingly perfect gifts: a baby bathtub toy and a Baby Einstein bouncer. Both products looked like they were brand new, according to the shopper. In an interview with CNN, she stated, "I was winning. I thought I hit the jackpot with two gifts that were not open." It was only later that day at Rosas' baby shower did she realize what a blunder she had made by not checking the contents of both boxes. Though the bathtub toy was as pictured on the box, the expecting couple pulled out a Mossberg 715T semi-automatic rifle in place of what should have been a baby bouncer.
Rosas explained, "All of our husbands are military, there were five soldiers around, so they knew what kind of gun it was right away. All the questions from people at the party started coming in, and everyone was just laughing." Alvarez-Rodriguez shared that she did not think to open the box inside the store as the way it was taped up seemed to indicate that it had never been opened in the first place. Nonetheless, once everyone realized what they had in their hands, they decided to do the right thing and call the local police department. After they explained what had happened, a police officer arrived at Rosas' household and confirmed it was a .22 caliber rifle. However, Crestview Police spokesman Andrew Schneider informed CNN that he could not confirm for certain if the surprise gun was loaded or not.
What was most shocking, nonetheless, was the series of events that unfurled next. Once police officers inspected the rifle and checked Rosas and her husband's IDs to confirm that they had not committed any felonies, the couple was told they could simply keep the gun. That's just American gun control for you, folks. The couple, of course, decided against this and called police officials in to collect the gun and find its previous or original owner. Through the serial number found on the body of the rifle, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives can find important information about the gun and its owner, including where it was manufactured, where it was sold or purchased, and even who may have registered it.
Following the incident, Goodwill revealed that individuals often donate strange items to their stores. "You can imagine we get all kinds of crazy things," stated Goodwill's vice president of human resources Tamara Williams. "Some are donated intentionally and some accidentally, so it's not uncommon for weird things to come through. We've had someone's ashes donated." Williams also spoke with the individual who donated the item in the first place and they told her they didn't have even the slightest indication that there could have been anything other than a baby bouncer inside the box.
Additionally, Alvarez-Rodriguez reached out to Baby Einstein on Twitter to see if they could provide any information about the product or how this could have occurred. They informed her that the company does not sell their products directly to Goodwill or have control over what happens with used products. In a rather kind move, they delivered a new baby bouncer to Rosas and her husband. Now, should the couple wish to keep the gun, they can simply follow state laws to register it. However, the ease with which this process occurred begs the question of why American gun laws aren't tighter. Had the gun landed in the wrong person's hands, who knows how this story could have developed?