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Staff photo by Aaron Dome
Davin Wagener, left, and Ryan Buroff, right, ride in a dune buggy driven by Sheriff's Deputy Jacob Gault, center, at the Stoddard Wells off-highway vehicle area on Saturday afternoon.

Rewarded for safe response

Sheriff's Dept. treats boys to fun after they turn in found gun

Correction 11/15: Spelling of Waggener's name corrected.


LENWOOD • Two Barstow boys on their way to the park early this month stumbled upon an unusual find —  a loaded .45 Magnum handgun.

Davin Waggener, 11 and his best friend Ryan Buroff, 12 found the gun in a leather bag in the street near the intersection of Turquoise Road and I Street Nov. 1 and immediately went to a nearby house where the occupants unloaded the gun and alerted San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputies.

“I thought it was a pile of weeds,” said Waggener, who said it appeared as if the bag had been in the street for some time.

Sheriff’s Deputies Nicholas Tollefson and Jacob Gault said they were thought that the boys should be rewarded for doing the right thing by turning the gun in.

A few phone calls later the reward was arranged, and the boys pulled into what they thought was just a  Saturday night dinner out at Chili’s when a Sheriff’s Department truck hauling a dune buggy pulled up behind them.

The boys hopped in the buggy, were belted in, and were off for a memorable high-speed ride at the Stoddard Wells off-highway vehicle area. Gault took the sheriff’s buggy over dips and ruts in the road at high speeds and whipped around corners, filling the air with dust.

“Do you think we can climb that hill?”  Gault said, as the buggy scaled a huge hill at what seemed like a 45-degree angle. The buggy took the boys across the desert at speeds approaching 80 mph.

A short time later the boys were back — a little shaken, but ready for their complimentary dinner.  

“I’m always going to remember this,” said Waggener, as he stepped out of the buggy in a dirt lot across from Chili’s.

Tollefson said this is first time they have rewarded youngsters with such an event.

“It’s important to reward a good deed,” said Tollefson.

Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Robbie Ciolli said the gun hasn’t been identified to any owner yet and a Department of Justice search is currently being conducted, but could take some time.

Gault said The sheriff’s buggy has been recently revamped thanks to grant money. An air-cooled Volkswagen Beetle engine was replaced with a V-6 GM Vortec truck engine that allows the buggy to scale 700-foot high hills to reach crash sites.

Contact the writer:
(760) 256-4126 or

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