For Immediate Release
Two Men Charged in Theft of Firearms from Dunham’s Sports Store in Benton Harbor
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Mark Totten today announced that two Benton Harbor men were charged with several crimes related to the theft of firearms from Dunham’s Sports in Benton Harbor.
“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,” said U.S. Attorney Mark Totten. “Fueling this epidemic is a massive influx of illegal guns into our communities. What happened at Dunham Sport’s on the evening of November 16th is a striking example of what is driving this crisis and we fully intend to satisfy our burden and prove this case.”
The charging documents allege that late on Nov. 16 Darnell Bishop and Dontrell Nance approached the Dunham’s store manager outside his home and held him at gunpoint. Bishop and Nance then handcuffed and blindfolded the manager and took him to another location; there, they forced him to provide security access information for the Dunham’s store. Bishop took the manager’s keys, entered the Dunham’s store and left with more than 120 handguns packed into two large coolers. Police later recovered all but one gun. If convicted, both men face up to life in prison.
Investigators searched residences and vehicles associated with Bishop and Nance on Nov. 17 and found firearms stolen from Dunham’s as well as an additional pistol. Both men were taken into custody that same day.
“Dontrelle Nance and Darnell Bishop are getting coal in their stockings this year rather than the 120 plus firearms they tried to steal during an armed robbery attempt of the Dunham’s Sporting Goods store in Benton Harbor,” said ATF Detroit Field Division Special Agent in Charge James Deir. “Robberies and burglaries of gun dealers represent one of the biggest threats to our community’s public safety. As such, ATF partnered with our state and local law enforcement agencies to swiftly investigate this incident and thus, prevented over 120 firearms from making it into the hands of violent criminals on the streets and keeping our communities safer.”
“The use of stolen guns in violent crimes is a common occurrence in our communities, causing immense harm to families,” said Special Agent in Charge Cheyvoryea Gibson of the FBI in Michigan. “Arresting and charging individuals allegedly involved in such crimes can save countless Michiganders from being victimized by these weapons. I want to thank the FBI's Benton Harbor Safe Streets Task Force for quickly resolving this case. The FBI and our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners are committed to working together to ensure the safety of Michigan's residents.”
“The Michigan State Police is proud to be a part of law enforcement in Southwest Michigan, and work alongside all of these dedicated, hard-working professionals,” said MSP Inspector Ryan Schoonveld. “Officers from local, state, and federal agencies came together last Thursday, working through the night, to bring a very dangerous situation to a safe and successful conclusion.”
This case was investigated by the Benton Charter Township Police Department, Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety, Berrien County Sheriff’s Department, Michigan State Police, ATF and FBI.
The charges in a complaint are merely accusations, and both defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.