Ex-officer helps Portland police nab suspected gun thieves - WSMV Channel 4

Ex-officer helps Portland police nab suspected gun thieves

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PORTLAND, TN (WSMV) -

A couple is accused of selling stolen guns, and they probably didn't realize the man to whom they were selling was actually an ex-cop who knew just what to do.

Now, the arsenal of stolen weapons,12 shotguns and rifles, is off the streets thanks to Jody McDowell.

"His whole story was suspicious and fishy," McDowell said.

McDowell is a registered firearms dealer, listed on the Internet. He got a call from an Indiana number Thursday from a man who wanted to sell some guns, so McDowell had him bring them to his Portland check cashing store.

McDowell is an ex-law enforcement office,r and guess where his office is.

"Right across the street from the police department," said Portland Police Det. Joey Rush.

The store's surveillance system captured the transaction as police waited nearby.

After the man handed over the first gun, McDowell noted its serial number, and texted it to the detective.

"I actually was sitting there holding the guns in my lap, and the guy and his wife were sitting there talking to me. I'm there nonchalantly putting numbers in," McDowell said.

Rush then got the text, called dispatch with the serial number and it came back with a match.

"So the very first one pops up as stolen," McDowell said.

Soon, the parking lot was full of police, and they found a lot more guns in the back of the couple's car. Both the seller, Terry Hopper, of Florence, IN, and the woman with him, Pamela Bentz, of Bedford, KY, have criminal records.

Hopper, in fact, has a previous conviction for reckless homicide.

Besides guns, their car was full of knives, jewelry and watches, and police are now tracing those items to possible home burglaries.

And it all began when McDowell's sixth sense, his police training, kicked in.

"I could definitely smell a rat," McDowell said.

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