Bank robbery suspects also accused of stealing guns from hardware store

Published 10:30 pm Thursday, May 18, 2017

A group of men that allegedly robbed a bank in Marion at gunpoint last year are also accused of breaking into a Safford hardware store last week and stealing more than 50 guns.

Fortune Hoppins, 35, and Jabriel Bell, 25, have been arrested and charged with third-degree burglary, and a third suspect, Stanley Young, is still at large.

Captain Mike Granthum with the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department said the burglary happened sometime between 5 p.m. on May 9 when the store closed and 5 a.m. on May 10.

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“There was over 50 guns that have been stolen, and about half of those have been recovered,” Granthum said.

An employee that works at the store was coming in to open up for the day when they noticed glass from the back door busted, along with several missing guns. Surveillance video shows two men breaking into the store.

“It showed two subjects forcing their way into the business. They were calm, real calm, real collected, not in too big of a hurry,” Granthum said. “It shows them rambling through the guns basically picking what they wanted, putting them in bags and gracefully for a lack of better terms walking out of the store.”

Granthum said agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the U.S. Marshals office, who are familiar with the suspects, were able to identify Hoppins and Bell.

“One of the other agencies knew who they were right off the bat from dealing with them so much,” Granthum said. “They were easy to identify and a little harder to catch.”

The U.S. Marshals and ATF were able to locate the two and arrest them. Granthum said one of them had one of the stolen guns in his possession.

Hoppins and Young, who is still being sought, were recently released from custody from Bridgeport, Connecticut, where they allegedly fled after robbing a bank in Marion on Sept. 14, 2016. They were arrested by U.S. Marshals in Connecticut in November on charges related to the bank robbery.

According to the Connecticut Department of Corrections, Young was released on March 27, and Hoppins was released on April 24. It is unclear why they were released.

Perry County Sheriff Billy Jones said the department was trying to extradite them back to Perry County, but they were released.

“We sent them all the information that we needed to send to them, and they still turned them loose,” Jones said. “We told them we wanted to extradite them, and we’ve been doing this ever since they captured them. They knew that we wanted them. They weren’t supposed to turn them loose.”

Jones said he was told by state police in Connecticut the two made bond on charges in Connecticut.

While Young is still on the run, Bell and Hoppins are in custody at the Perry County Jail. Jones said U.S. Marshals picked Bell and Hoppins up Wednesday to take them to Mobile to face Federal charges.

According to Jones, Hoppins is also facing charges for allegedly burglarizing a Dollar General in June. Both he and Young will also face charges for allegedly robbing a man, tying him up and setting his home on fire in Marengo County.