Benton Township, Michigan – November 22, 2023
In a daring plot that unfolded last week, federal authorities arrested two men suspected of orchestrating the theft of more than 100 guns from a Dunham’s Sports store in southwestern Michigan. The incident, which occurred in Benton Township on the southeastern coast of Lake Michigan, saw the recovery of all but one of the approximately 120 firearms a day after the brazen heist.
Darnell Bishop, 33, and Dontrell Nance, 25, brothers identified as the primary suspects, were taken into custody by federal authorities. The duo allegedly forced the Dunham’s store manager at gunpoint to grant them access to the targeted store, situated about 100 miles east of Chicago.
U.S. Attorney Mark Totten, addressing the media at a news conference, highlighted the severity of the situation, stating, “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. What happened at Dunham Sport’s… is a striking example of what is driving this crisis.”
The store manager recounted being confronted at his home around 10 p.m. on Thursday, where Bishop and Nance reportedly handcuffed and blindfolded him before transporting him to another location. Court documents allege that at this undisclosed location, the suspects threatened the store manager at gunpoint, compelling him to provide security information. Using the manager’s keys, Bishop disabled the alarm system, gaining entry to the sporting goods store and making off with 123 handguns packed into two large coolers.
Security footage captured evidence of the break-in, as outlined in a probable cause affidavit. Nance reportedly remained with the store manager during the burglary.
The stolen handguns, valued at over $100,000, were believed to be destined for quick sale on the streets, according to Jim Deir, head of the “U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives in Michigan.”
Investigators unraveled the case when one of the suspects attempted to transfer money from the store manager’s bank account using a cash app, resulting in a failed transaction. This led to the identification of Nance and eventually Bishop.
Surveillance conducted the following day revealed the suspects moving the coolers into an SUV. Subsequent searches of their homes and vehicles yielded the majority of the stolen handguns and an unrelated pistol. Both men were apprehended on the same day.
In a complaint filed on Monday, Bishop and Nance face four federal charges, including robbery under a federal interstate commerce statute, using a firearm during a crime, stealing firearms from a federally licensed dealer, and knowingly possessing stolen firearms. During interviews with investigators, both men admitted their roles.
If convicted, Bishop and Nance could face life imprisonment. In a statement, Deir emphasized the gravity of the situation, stating, “Robberies and burglaries of gun dealers represent one of the biggest threats to our community’s public safety.” He highlighted the collaborative effort between ATF, local, and state law enforcement agencies in swiftly investigating the incident, preventing over 120 firearms from reaching the hands of potential criminals, and ensuring community safety.