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Thief rams Bismarck gun shop with truck, steals firearms; suspect arrested
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Thief rams Bismarck gun shop with truck, steals firearms; suspect arrested

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Owner Darryl Howard stands outside Double H Guns in south Bismarck on Monday. The plywood to the right is where the shop was damaged by a thief crashing a vehicle to gain entry.

A thief driving in reverse crashed a vehicle into a Bismarck gun shop early Monday and stole an unspecified number of firearms, according to police who apprehended a suspect later in the day at a convenience store.

Tjaden Smith, 22, of Bismarck, was arrested about 2 p.m. Monday, Lt. Luke Gardiner said. 

Police were called to Double H Guns about 1:30 a.m. Monday. Smith allegedly rammed a service-type vehicle with cabinets on the back into the front door and stole “a number of firearms,” Gardiner said. No ammunition, gunpowder or gun accessories were stolen.

Police about 12:30 p.m. Monday responded to a gas drive-off at a Holiday store on North State Street. The vehicle involved fit the description of the one used in the gun shop burglary. An officer saw the vehicle on Calgary Avenue about 2 p.m. and followed it to a Cenex on West Divide. Smith tried to flee officers but was apprehended inside the store, Gardiner said.

Smith was arrested on suspicion of burglary, fleeing on foot, being a felon in possession of a firearm and theft of property. Formal charges were pending. It wasn't immediately clear if Smith had an attorney.

Four rifles were stolen from Double H and all were recovered. The guns were still in the vehicle allegedly used by Smith. The vehicle was stolen in North Dakota but outside the jurisdiction of Bismarck police, Gardiner said.

Smith in April 2019 was accused of assaulting two women in Mandan and leading police on a chase to Bismarck. He was arrested after a six-hour standoff at a Bismarck residence. He pleaded guilty to felony aggravated assault and terrorizing in Morton County, and felony fleeing and reckless endangerment in Burleigh County. He is still on probation from that incident, court records show.

The gun shop hasn’t had incidents like this since opening at the South Washington location in 2013, owner Darryl Howard said. He turned over video surveillance footage to police.

The vehicle backed into the shop and had to propel over a substantial curb before hitting the storefront, Howard said. Also missing is a wall hanging Howard believes may have fallen into the vehicle.

Howard keeps a record of all the firearms in the shop that includes serial numbers. Transferring the stolen guns through a dealer would be difficult, he said. It’s illegal to alter the serial number on a firearm or to buy one on which the serial number has been altered. Some of the more valuable firearms in the shop were bypassed in the burglary, Howard said.

“Nothing crazy was stolen,” he said.

Police estimated there was $2,500 damage to the shop. That estimate “won’t dent it,” Howard said, adding that a substantial portion of the storefront was damaged. The shop was open for business Monday, however.

Reach Travis Svihovec at 701-250-8260 or Travis.Svihovec@bismarcktribune.com

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