Fishermen across Florida reeled in a lot more than they were looking for this past week. A man and his 11-year-old grandson pulled two .50-caliber Barrett sniper rifles out of a canal near Miami over the weekend. And last Monday, police said a fisherman unexpectedly hooked a human body in a central Florida lake.
Duane Smith told the Miami Herald he saw a YouTube video on magnet fishing and decided to give it a try on Sunday. They dropped a 5-pound magnet in the C-102 canal in southern Miami-Dade County.
“We ended up with two pounds of scrap metal and 40 pounds of gun,” Smith told the newspaper.
The guns were not loaded and they didn’t find any ammunition.
“The Barretts had so much mass,” Smith, 61, said. “The magnet went straight to them.”
Smith told the newspaper he was concerned because the serial numbers on the lower receivers of the weapons and the bolt of one of the rifles were filed off.
“Whoever did this is not your run-of-the-mill criminal,” said Smith, a former Army infantry officer.
He called Miami-Dade police and two officers came out to pick up the guns.
Detective Christopher Thomas told the Herald it will likely take the department a while to determine if the weapons were used in a crime.
“Judging by the photo, those have been there for a while. That said, it will take some time for the weapons to end up at our forensics lab. Once there, they will be processed,” he said.
Smith said he isn’t convinced the guns were in the water very long. He says they were wrapped in plastic and we wiped away most of the corrosion in 30 minutes.
“It looked like it was something that someone would want to come back for,” he said.
The strange discovery comes just days after police said two men in central Florida were out fishing when one of them unexpectedly hooked a body and began to reel it in.
Authorities said the fishermen were casting their lines from the grassy banks near downtown Auburndale when one of them hooked something that felt heavy, CBS affiliate WTSP reported. One of the two fishermen called his father, who rushed over and confirmed it was a human body. The group dialed 911.
Police responded to the scene and discovered the 40-year-old dead man had lived in the area and had recently returned to the region. It appeared he was probably in the water for 1-2 days, according to law enforcement.
“There were no obvious signs of trauma, though this is a medical examiner case,” the Auburndale Police Department wrote in an update. “An autopsy is pending.”