Stolen Historic Cannon Recovered

By Charles Slat H/T Original Story

Matt Switlik - ERIC SEALS/Detroit Free Press
Matt Switlik of Monroe -- a historian who collects cannons -- said the 225-pound cannon that was stolen last month is one of a matching pair. It dates to 1795 and has the crest of the Spanish king on it. / ERIC SEALS/Detroit Free Press
AmmoLand Gun News
AmmoLand Gun News

Manasquan, NJ –-( Putting up a modest reward to recover a stolen 18th century cannon might seem like a shot in the dark, but it worked for Monroe resident Matthew Switlik.

Mr. Switlik’s bronze Spanish-made cannon was swiped Nov. 2 during a nighttime burglary at a Romulus plastics-molding factory, where it was being used as a model for a plastic donations receptacle being created for the new River Raisin National Battlefield Park.

He figured he never again would see the stolen historic artifact, which is estimated to be worth at least $12,000. Nonetheless, he put up a $1,000 reward for its return.

He recovered it this week.

“I got call from a police officer in Detroit in a narcotics unit, and he had my cannon,” Mr. Switlik said. “He credited a concerned citizen who had suspected where it was and took a couple of weeks to locate it.”

The cannon was turned over to Mr. Switlik in the parking lot of the Detroit Police Department’s 10th Precinct station on Livernois, and he paid the reward. He’s not sure of any more details of its recovery.

“I really don’t know any more than that,” he said. “Those folks work in the shadows, and that’s all I know, but I think the reward had something to do with it.”

Although the theft had been widely publicized, the only contact Mr. Switlik received as a result was from a man who claimed psychic abilities and suggested that the cannon was in a building at a construction site in the Romulus area. But that did not pan out.

“I know the Romulus police worked on it and had a feeling there was a ring of metal thieves doing this regularly. They were working on it from that angle, and that could have been the case,” said Mr. Switlik, a retired director of the Monroe County Historical Museum.

The recovered cannon, one of a pair Mr. Switlik owns, is none the worse for wear.

“There’s no damage to it at all,” he said.

Understandably, he is feeling lucky.

“I’ve got to go out and buy lottery tickets this week,” he said. “I also got a call from my daughter who had a cat missing for a month, and they found it this morning, so the family’s having a good roll.”

Mr. Switlik has owned the cannon since 1974. The 42-inch-long gun was cast in Seville in 1795, and the crest of the Spanish king is engraved on the top.

The molding process will resume at the plastics company, but Mr. Switlik will be present during the process.

“It will not leave my possession,” he said.