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‘Guns cool’: Docs reveal moments before 18-year-old, 2 teens try to break into gun shop

Last Updated 6 days by Amnon J. Jobi | Amnon Front Page

BEECH GROVE, Ind. (WISH) — An 18-year-old and two 17-year-old boys were taken into custody Friday after they tried breaking into a gun store in full view of a Beech Grove police officer.

Court documents shared with News 8 say a Beech Grove police officer was sitting in his fully-marked squad car parked outside the Beech Grove Police Department around 5:30 a.m. Friday.

While sitting in his car, he noticed a white Buick passenger car park in the northwest corner of the department parking lot. Three suspects dressed in all black, with ski masks and backpacks, exited the car and walked through an alley.

The officer followed them through the alley and saw the three climb through a broken fence surrounding Beech Grove Firearms at 3020 S. Emerson Ave.

The officer then called for backup to set up a perimeter around the shop.

While police surrounded the gun store, two other officers stayed with the Buick. Court documents say they noticed an opened phone sitting in the center console with the Google Maps pin for Beech Grove Firearms on the screen.

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Investigators at the gun shop eventually noticed “what (they) believed to be a person balled up at the corner of the building,” and after calling for additional backup, the three suspects were taken into custody.

When officers searched the suspects, one of the teens told them “he wanted to be honest” and said he had marijuana in his pocket.

The man, 18-year-old Tyrone Bonner, told police while being transported back to the Beech Grove Police Department that they found the car at a Mexican restaurant near East 21st Street and North Franklin Road. The car had been unlocked with the keys inside, and the group stole it.

This confession was recorded on the officer’s bodycam.

While in a holding cell at the department, Bonner also told police they used a broken key to start the car. After signing a Miranda Rights waiver, court documents say Bonner admitted a third time to stealing the car, but then asked for a lawyer.

The two teenagers also spoke with police about the attempted burglary.

One teen, not identified in court documents, said he and the other boy were hanging out with Bonner the night before. The affidavit says Bonner had a backpack with him, but the teen didn’t know what was it in.

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After finding the unlocked vehicle, they stole the car and started driving around. While they drove around, court documents say they “saw a store saying guns and they thought, ‘Guns cool.’”

The group then parked the car and hopped the gun store fence. He told police that Bonner then pulled out bolt cutters from his backpack to use on the front door. They were stopped by officers before they could get in.

Court documents say the teen told police “what they did was stupid, and he is glad the police stopped them.”

The other teen also confirmed the car theft and said it was his phone in the car that had Google Maps pulled up on it. He didn’t speak with police further.

Greg Burge, owner of Beech Grove Firearms, shared security camera footage of the attempted burglary with News 8. The group can be seen jumping the fence, then quickly being taken into custody.

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Burge says having police close to the shop is invaluable. “We are a hundred yards from the Beech Grove police station, which is invaluable and it proved … it didn’t prove to be a deterrent, but it sure proved to be an asset because the Beech Grove a hundred yards away, you know watching this unfold.”

“From the information I’ve been told, they pretty much did everything but say ‘good morning, officers, we’re here to break into Beech Grove Firearms.’”

Last April, three men used a stolen pickup truck to ram the front of the building and steal nearly $30,000 worth of firearms. Another break-in attempt occurred in December 2020, when four men armed with a sledgehammer and backpacks tried to get into Beech Grove Firearms around 5 a.m. on a Sunday.

Bonner was booked into the Marion County jail, but was released Saturday.

He faces charges of burglary, auto theft, and criminal trespass. Online jail records show he faces two other burglary charges, but it wasn’t clear if they were related to the Beech Grove incident.

News 8’s Gregg Montgomery contributed to this report.