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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Michigan
Mark Totten, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Dontrell Nance Pleads Guilty To Role In Dunham’s Handgun Theft

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Mark Totten today announced that Dontrell Nance, 25, pled guilty to kidnapping and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. Nance faces a maximum possible penalty of life in prison. The previous press releases, complaint, and press conference can be viewed here and here.

          “Illegal firearms flood our communities and are responsible for so much trauma and so many tears,” said U.S. Attorney Mark Totten. “Without the quick and careful work of law enforcement, these guns would have done more of the same. No level of violence is acceptable, and we will remain laser focused on the few who drive violence in their communities.”

          Nance was charged along with his codefendant, Darnell Bishop, for the theft of 123 handguns from the Benton Harbor Dunham’s Sports. As part of his plea agreement, Nance admitted that he and Bishop kidnapped the Dunham’s manager from outside the manager’s home using a pistol, took him to a second location, and convinced the manager to provide keys and the alarm code for Dunham’s. Nance said he stayed with the manager while Bishop went to the store, returning with the handguns packed in two large coolers. Law enforcement has since recovered all 123 firearms.   

Two blue Yeti coolers full of firearms.

          “This investigation represents the worst of the worst type of scenario for our industry partners and their innocent employees. Everybody needs to be able to go to work and feel safe. Armed robberies of federal firearms licensees are one of ATF’s top priorities,” said Detroit Field Division Special Agent in Charge James Deir. “The message is clear:  There is no place in our community for illegal firearms traffickers and those who choose to target and victimize business owners and employees who are just trying to provide for their families. In the end, ATF’s partnerships with other state and federal law enforcement agencies resulted in the shift disruption of this firearms trafficking scheme.” 

          “The increasing prevalence of illegal firearms poses a significant threat to the safety of our citizens,” said Cheyvoryea Gibson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan. “The disruption of this scheme undoubtedly prevented numerous deaths. This case exemplifies the effectiveness of collaboration and coordination, and I am thankful for the prompt actions of our law enforcement partners, particularly the members of the Benton Harbor Safe Streets Task Force.” 

          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. 

          Bishop pled not guilty to kidnapping, interference with commerce by robbery, brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, and theft of firearms from a federal firearms licensee. The charges against him in the indictment are merely accusations, and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.


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