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VALPARAISO | An employee at the Valparaiso branch of the Porter County Public Library made a shocking discovery this week after cracking open a donated book.

The book, which carries the title "Outerbridge Reach," was hollowed out and contained a historic-looking handgun, according to Valparaiso police.

"Somebody just opened it up and said, 'Oh my,' " said Assistant Library Director Phyllis Nelson.

The weapon was described by police as a gold, wooden handle, A.S.M. brand, .31-caliber, single shot, black powder gun.

Nelson said she contacted police and told them the book had been donated to the library. Thousands of books are donated each month, she said, and records are not kept, so there is no way of knowing who dropped off the book or when, she said.

Police determined the gun had not been stolen and it is being held as evidence.

Nelson said this is not the first time a gun was found in a book donated to the library. There was another incident sometime before she came on staff 12 years ago.

"I've just heard the story," she said.

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Porter/LaPorte county reporter

Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.