Probably he wanted to keep it.I had a revolver stolen years ago; it was eventually seized by the Garvin County Sheriff's office, from a felon.
After the trial (and conviction) I went to Pauls Valley to retrieve it.
The Undersheriff told me flat out that he would not release the firearm, even after I showed proof of ownership (never get rid of receipts, ever).
A quick trip upstairs to the DA's office, a phone call from the ADA to the Undersheriff, I went back downstairs and fetched my revolver.
The aforementioned Undersheriff didn't say a word as he handed it to me, but he was certainly unhappy.