(NECN/NBC News: Jeff Saperstone) - Police officers in Connecticut received one very unusual weapon during a gun buy-back program last week -- the gun was from World War II and is worth over $30,000.
All sorts of guns were turned in at the gun buy-back event in Hartford last Saturday, but one weapon caught the eyes of officers.
"The chance to see a piece of history -- this … is absolutely unbelievable,” said Officer Lewis Crabtree of the Hartford Police Dept.
That's because the weapon turned in is a World War II-era assault rifle used by the Germans.
"Usually, this rifle would be issued to SS troops,” said Officer John Cavanna of the Hartford Police.
Cavanna is a gun historian.
One woman turned in the weapon, unaware of how much it was worth.
“In excellent condition, this gun is rated at $30,000 to $40,000,” Cavanna said.
But you might be wondering right now, how did a German soldier's weapon wind up in the hands of an American?
“You could kill a solider back then, and if the captain of your fighting unit signed off on it, you could send that gun home to your family or kid brother or cousin,” Cavanna said. “Anything you wanted. Her father, who was a World War II army man, had brought this gun home from the European theater."
The gun, developed in 1944, holds a 30-round magazine and can shoot 500 rounds per minute. Cavanna said every modern assault rifle produced today is based on this design.
As soon as officers saw this weapon, they knew its value.
"This is a gun that should actually be in a museum rather than in a shredder,” Crabtree said.
And that's why they will allow the owner to sell the gun.
"I give her credit for bringing it to us,” Crabtree said.
A piece of World War II history -- saved.