More than 100 stolen handguns snatched in a brazen heist last week would have been sold on the streets and further fueled gun violence if they hadn’t been recovered, authorities in southwestern Michigan said Tuesday.
Two brothers, Darnell Bishop and Dontrell Nance, accosted the manager of Dunham’s Sports in Benton Township at gunpoint Friday outside his home, authorities said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. They handcuffed and blindfolded the manager, forced him into the backseat of a car, and drove him to another location, forcing him to reveal the security code. One of them then went to the store and filled two Yeti coolers with guns, according to a complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan.
Police arrested the pair and charged them with four federal crimes related to firearms theft. If convicted they could face life in prison.
“Just look at the firepower on this table,” Jim Deir, head of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Michigan, told reporters at a press conference Tuesday, displaying the 123 recovered guns. “There’s over $100,000 worth of guns here.”
Though the brothers knew to hijack the alarm code, they did not disable the security cameras before fleeing with the loot in their car trunks. Once released, the store manager called 911, and police went searching for the suspects. Security footage revealed the coolers in the trunk of one of the cars belonging to the alleged thieves. When one of them tried to transfer money from the manager’s bank account via a phone app, investigators obtained his name.
Cops followed the men and watched as they carried the coolers into a residence. Police raided the residence and other locations and took the two suspects into custody. Once confronted, the two confessed, according to the Department of Justice statement.
“It is no secret that we are experiencing an epidemic of gun violence across the nation, across the state of Michigan and right here in Benton Harbor, as well,” U.S. Attorney Mark Totten said. “What happened at Dunham’s Sports is a striking example of what is driving this crisis.”
Authorities on Tuesday said they had recovered 123 firearms, all but one of the stolen stash.
“My experience: These were headed to the streets,” Deir said. “These were headed for quick sale, quick money.”
With News Wire Services