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Men sue to try to recover firearms seized from hunting cabin

September 5, 2021 GMT

MERRILL, Mich. (AP) — Nearly four years later, two men are turning to federal court to try to recover 13 guns seized from a hunting cabin in Saginaw County.

The sheriff’s office took the guns after responding to a dispute between a man and a woman who were using the cabin in 2017. The man grabbed a shotgun and was subsequently charged with domestic violence.

The case ended in 2019, but the sheriff’s office has refused to release the firearms, according to a lawsuit recently filed in federal court.

“The 13 guns we’re trying to get back have nothing to do” with the incident, attorney Philip Ellison told MLive.com.

“We’ve tried three or four different ways to get these firearms back, and they just won’t give them back. They were basically laughed at,” Ellison said.

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Gerald Novak owns the cabin, but had no role in the incident and wasn’t present. Some of the guns are family heirlooms. A few are owned by another man, Adam Wenzel.

Deputies in their reports said they took the guns for “safekeeping.” In a 2019 email between a sheriff’s detective and a prosecutor, the officer said, “the longer we keep the guns, the better,” according to the lawsuit.

Saginaw County Sheriff William Federspiel isn’t backing down.

“I’m comfortable with the decisions that we made,” he said. “The people who brought this suit, they have the right to do that.”