That's a valid concern. Try calling your local police non-emergency. There's usually a way to have serial numbers run at the time of a transaction. I've had a call like that a couple times.
I'm guessing if somebody is OK with the cops dropping by to run the numbers, they either have no clue or are damn arrogant.
I've also had a guy have us come out and ask us to run some guns he'd just bought. I explained that if anything came up stolen I'd be taking it back to the station, and he was OK with that.
I was discussing a private party sale of a 10/22 one time with a guy on the phone. When I mentioned running the serial number for my own piece of mind, the guy on the other end of the phone got cold feet all of a sudden. That threw up some red flags, but I'm not sure if the locals his way ever got anything out of it or not.
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