UPDATE (6/8/2023 – 8:04 P.M.) — While doing his own, independent research, 6 News reporter Nate Salazar determined that what found is a cast iron cap gun toy from the 1930s and not an actual firearm.
LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – When you’re paddling down Lansing’s Grand River you may not think about the treasures that lie underneath the surface.
But there is one who has and he’s gained quite the following resurrecting ancient relics.
His name is Tanner Torrez, a.k.a. the Michigan Magnet Man.
“There’s a lot of stuff that we pull out of the river that people would not even bat an eye at, oh it’s just trash or it’s junk… for me it’s something that excited me and I like to repurpose things,” he said.
A hobby that led to his moniker, Torrez started magnet fishing and posting videos of his catches online three years ago and gathered a community around his treasure hunting.
“I’ve gotten about 450,000 followers, um, I think I’m up to 145 million views over the past three years, and every single day in the morning I’ll typically post a 60-second short,” said Torrez.
He and his girlfriend “Scuba Sonia” cast their powerful magnets far beyond our state boundaries.
“We’ve gone as far all the way out to Sacramento, California, San Francisco, over to New Jersey new york city on the east coast.”
6 News reporter Nate Salazar got the chance to fish alongside the master, and after his first cast into the Grand River, he pulled something in that Torrez said was a Magnet Fisher’s Dream.
A cast iron, toy gun. From the 1930s, no less.
“I’m going to be honest with you dude people come out here and do this for like years, literal years, and they never find a gun,” Torrez said. “That’s like the key big ticket item they want. You found it your first throw dude that is awesome.”
The crazy finds don’t stop there, Torrez said he’s found items that range from mortars to skeleton keys, license plates from the early 1900s, and even model boats.
“The most weird thing that I’ve ever found was a 1930s condom still in the tin, in Detroit, had all of the original packaging inside of it still,” said Torrez.
For Torrez, cool finds like those are only a plus. For him, cleaning up Michigan’s waterways is the greatest treasure of all.
“We can spend weeks and weeks at these locations cleaning them out, and it’s not going to be enough… now we need to tell more people, we need to tell other people how to do this, we need to teach kids how to do this so we can get more people out there… It’s just going to get more hands involved in cleaning up the Earth.”
Torrez says he has had offers for some of his finds up to $750, but he won’t sell them.
He plans to open an interactive museum featuring his finds.